June 20 2013 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Friday, March 22, 2013
A Norfolk police dog has received additional training after it killed a cat while pursuing a suspected burglar and a sheep in a field near Norwich just months earlier, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.
The two-year-old German Shepherd dog was involved in an incident in a field near Caistor St Edmund in September last year in which a sheep was killed before, just four months later, killing a cat while chasing a burglary suspect in Norton Subcourse.
The incidents have come to light after an FoI request was submitted to Norfolk police for access to “if asked” media statements, ones prepared for publication but witheld unless asked for, between May 1 October 31 last year.
It has emerged a statement was prepared confirming the dog’s involvement in an incident in which a sheep was killed on September 16 last year but was not released.
A police spokesman said: “Police dogs perform a vital role in policing and are highly trained to respond to a variety of situations including searching for offenders and missing people, recovering important evidence, disarming or detaining violent suspects and controlling hostile crowds.
“On two occasions, when off duty in Caistor St Edmund and four months later, whilst tracking a suspected burglar in Norton Subcourse, one of our police dogs instinctively used its training techniques when confronted with a sheep and cat respectively, regrettably resulting in their death.
“The dog, a two year old German Shepherd with a strong track record of achievement, was immediately removed from active duty and has been subject to three separate safety tests, which have all concluded that he poses no risk over and above any other police dog.”
The dog has since received additional training and returned to work and continues to live with his handler and young family.
The spokesman said: “Officers liaised with the owners in each case and agreements made to offer compensation and make amends.“
The spokesman added the dog has been successfully utilised in a number of police operations in the city.
Earlier this month, the dog was deployed in the city to track a vehicle linked to a series of burglaries. He tracked to a local address, resulting in two arrests and all stolen property and additional stolen property recovered.
In November last year he supported a police drugs warrant in west Norwich where a large hostile crowd had gathered and in May he detained a suspect who made off on foot from the police from the scene of a cannabis farm in Silver Road.