Police force under fire over 'dog blog'

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The Independent Online

A taxpayers' campaign group criticised police today for "wasting" time and money creating internet blogs "written" by police dogs.

Cambridgeshire is the latest force to launch a " dog blog " on its website - others have been produced by Tayside and Avon and Somerset.

Staff say the diary is popular and promotes the work of police dogs.

But the TaxPayers' Alliance says the blogs are "PR exercises" with no public benefit.

"All the time we hear that police forces overstretched and officers have too much paperwork," said a spokesman. "Yet someone seems to have enough time to write hundreds of words about the life of a dog?"

Chief executive Matthew Elliott added: "This might be a well-intentioned idea but it is a waste of money.

"Either the dog's handler or a press officer are evidently devoting their time to writing this blog at taxpayers' expense and to no real benefit for public safety.

"People pay their taxes for the police to go out and catch criminals, not for cutesy PR exercises."

Cambridgeshire police said the blog gave the public an "insight" into the work of police dogs.

"The dog's blog has proved to be extremely popular with the public and received more than 700 visitors in its first week," said a spokeswoman.

"We have also had several emails from the public asking Lukas questions about his role and saying how much they like the blog.

"Police dogs play a vital role in protecting the public and officers and the purpose of the blog is to give people an insight into that work.

"The blog costs nothing to produce and is written by the corporate communications team, whose role it is to promote the work of the force."

In the blog German Shepherd puppy Lukas "tells" readers: "I'm ... lucky enough to have my two big brothers Yeoman and George in their kennels either side of me. They're police dogs at the moment, and they're always telling me about what they get up to, so I can't wait to see if I'm lucky enough to be able to become a proper police dog."