Union welcomes consultation but calls for harsher penalties

dangerous dogThe CWU has welcomed yesterday’s consultation on sentencing guidelines for dangerous dogs offences and says that stronger penalties and greater consistency are needed to tackle the offences.

The union also says that the risk of dog attacks on postal workers is growing as more parcels and signed-for items lead to front doors being opened.

CWU health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: “Through the CWU’s Bite Back campaign we suggested that penalties for dangerous dogs offences be toughened and brought in line with those for dangerous driving. We’re pleased to see these in the proposed sentencing guidelines. These are far more appropriate for the serious nature of these crimes.

“We also need to see greater consistency in sentencing as there are stark differences across the country which new guidelines will hopefully help level out.

“Dog attacks remain worryingly high and we’re still seeing 3,000 dog attacks on postal workers every year. The risk is increasing as the number of parcels and signed-for items increases and customers open their doors to postal workers. Greater awareness and precautions are desperately needed.”

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “Dog attacks remain a serious occupational hazard for our members and more needs to be done to raise awareness and tackle irresponsible dog owners. The government mustn’t take its eyes off this danger area. It’s important that consistent, tougher penalties and guidelines are introduced and enforced countrywide.”

CWU launched its Bite Back campaign in 2008 following two especially vicious attacks on postal workers, both of whom almost lost limbs. Attacks on postal workers have fallen from around 5,000 attacks a year in that period to just over 3,000 attacks a year more recently. CWU and Royal Mail jointly promote Dog Awareness Week which takes place in the run up to the school summer holidays.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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