Monday, October 16, 2006

Deputy Dawg

Go ahead punk... Make my day

Tyler has always been dog phobic. To him, all dogs are wild slavering beasts just waiting for the first chance to rip out his throat.

Which is why he thinks police dogs are such a spiffing idea. Even the most aggressive yob is surely going to think twice about risking the flashing gnashers of a pumped up Dirty Harry style Alsatian. Cost effective policing in action.

Which is what makes today's report from the North Wales police so extraordinary:

"Police dogs are being muzzled to stop them biting and injuring suspected criminals.

Officers say the toothless tactic provides a safer way to tackle unco-operative offenders, and it may soon be adopted by dog squads across the country.

'Instead of biting, the dog is muzzled and launches itself like a missile at the midriff of the target,' said Deputy Chief Constable of North Wales, Clive Wolfendale (if he isn't known as Deputy Dawg, I'll eat my own muzzle).

'It is one of the additional options open to us to muzzle our dogs and get them to use a head butt,' said Sgt Ian Massie. 'We believe it is a safer option for an offender to be head-butted.'

Sorry - is Sgt Massie taking the piss? Even I might be prepared to risk a mutt head-butt; your average Welsh hardman probably wouldn't even notice.

Of course, North Wales police are under the control of bonkers Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom. Among his previous lunacies were plans to award his officers points for making arrests or handing out fines under which they'd receive twice as many for seizing an abandoned car as for making an arrest. As the Government's adviser on road safety and speed cameras, he's also earned himself the nickname the 'Mad Mullah of the Traffic Taliban', calling for the number of cameras to be trebled, and getting officers to 'hide behind road signs and walls' with handheld devices. And that's on top of launching costly inquiries into alleged anti-Welsh comments by Tony Blair and Anne Robinson. No wonder his force has such an appalling record on tackling real crime.

This is yet more proof of why we need those elected sheriffs. And surely even poor old Ollie Letwin must see that.

PS My dog phobia was strongly reinforced a few years ago when there was a break-in at our neighbour's house. They were away, so I went round to let in the police. Worryingly, they pitched up with a dog, not only unmuzzled, but also the size of a small ox. Worse, its handler got it to sniff everything, including me. But as I desperately struggled not to run, I noticed the WPC I'd been talking to had also frozen. And when I asked her why, she said she was terrified of police dogs because "they're trained to go for you". She should get a transfer to North Wales.

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