Nottinghamshire police pay £2,000 to dog bite criminal

A man caught breaking into a car who was bitten by a police dog when he was arrested went on to receive £2,000 in compensation, it has emerged.

A freedom of information request revealed a total of 340 suspects suffered police dog bites over the past three years in the East Midlands.

Nottinghamshire police paid out almost £20,000 in compensation in that time.

The force said dogs were "vital" and any compensation was only paid after a thorough investigation.

Jeremy Ball, BBC East Midlands Today's social affairs correspondent, said the man who received the £2,000 payout had been spotted on CCTV smashing the window of a car in the Meadows area of Nottingham and was caught by a police dog.

He suffered bite injuries and had to spend several days in hospital. He was later convicted of attempted theft.

In the past three years Nottinghamshire Police has paid compensation six times, ranging from £1,000 to £6,500.

A police spokesman said: "Police dogs are a vital resource and make a valuable contribution to reducing and detecting crime and disorder.

"Along with their handlers, they attend hundreds of incidents per year and help secure a significant number of arrests.

"When a person or suspect is bitten by a police dog, there are robust procedures in place to ensure it is recorded, reviewed and assessed whether any further action is necessary, including a referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"Any claim for compensation is investigated thoroughly to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident."

Between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2012, 234 suspects, seven officers and 11 members of the public were bitten by Nottinghamshire police dogs.

In Leicestershire, 61 suspects, 26 officers and eight members of the public were bitten during the same period.

Derbyshire had just 45 suspects, 12 officers and seven members of the public bitten.

Neither force paid compensation and both said dogs were an integral part of crime fighting.

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