Police in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire sign agreement to crackdown on guide dog crime

Assistant chief con Michelle Dunn, guide dog Yoko, and guide dog mobility instructor Kelly Strachan.

Assistant chief con Michelle Dunn, guide dog Yoko, and guide dog mobility instructor Kelly Strachan. - Credit: Archant

Three forces have signed an agreement on investigating crimes affecting blind people and their guide dogs in a bid to crackdown on culprits.

Police in Herts, Beds and Cambs renewed their commitment to tackle the issue yesterday following a change in the law which helps protect owners and their dogs.

New legislation was introduced in May last year making it an offence for owners’ pets to attack a dog assisting the blind, deaf or disabled, and follows a report from charity Guide Dogs which found an average of 10 guide dogs were attacked in the UK each month between March 2011 and February 2013.

“This new service level agreement sets in stone our commitment to thoroughly investigate offences against guide dogs and fully support the victims of such incidents by using the new legislation,” said Hertfordshire’s assistant chief constable Michelle Dunn.

“It will also help us ensure we are following the best practice when investigating crimes against assistance dogs in general.

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“This will see us offer an enhanced level of care to owners whose assistance dogs are attacked.

“As part of this, a victim impact statement will always be taken to ensure the full impact an attack has on the person and their dog can be assessed.

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“We will be seeking feedback from the victims we come into contact with to ensure we are getting it consistently right and so that we can share our learning at a national level.”

Guide Dogs engagement officer Sue Rowen said: “ We would like to thank all those who have assisted us getting to this point.

“Previously we have had cases where the level of support guide dog owners have received after an attack has not been consistent and we are confident that now this will be a thing of the past.”

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