Wiltshire Constabulary’s campaign to reduce dog attacks

image source, Wiltshire Police

image caption, PC Croft launched the online course to encourage responsible dog ownership

  • Author, Drink the swallow
  • Role, BBC News, Wiltshire

A dog-loving police officer has designed a course to try to reduce the number of dog attacks across the country.

PC Paul Croft, based in Chippenham Borough Policing Squad, contacted Blue Cross Animal Charity after noticing an increase in dog-related crime.

Together they established the Responsible Dog Owners Course (RDOC), which offers training in dog safety, communication and canine management.

It aims to empower dog owners through education as opposed to punishment.

image source, Getty Images

image caption, It is hoped that the course will help people recognize the behavior patterns of dogs

The online educational course is aimed at low-level, first-time offenders, and 30 police forces have now adopted the course.

PC Croft said: “We know that a lack of understanding and education on the part of dog owners can play a significant role in dog bites – dogs rarely bite without provocation, so this online course helps dog owners recognize the ‘canine scale of communication” when it comes to dog bites.

“I hope it will help reduce dog bite incidents nationally.”

Saving lives

PC Croft also designed a police dog safety kit for school children.

“During my research, I discovered that many dog ​​bite incidents take place in people’s homes, with the majority of victims being young children,” he said.

Last year, PC Croft provided training to almost 60 colleagues around assembly talk aimed at children in phase 1 and 2.

“We are the first force in the country to train officers to deliver this package and so far we have delivered this to 1,400 schoolchildren.

“It’s really essential that kids know how to handle dogs and know the signs to look for with a dog’s body language.”

Throughout the process, PC Croft worked closely with Wiltshire Police Dog Unit, the Out of Court Resolutions Team and Wiltshire Council’s Dog Warden.

Inspector Pete Foster said: “The work that PC Croft has done to improve the response to dog bite incidents not only in Wiltshire but nationally is exceptional and should be commended.

“I have no doubt that the online course and gathering for young children will help prevent future dog bite incidents and save lives.”

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