Boy, 10, attacked by police dog while playing in his grandmother's Oldbury garden
West Midlands Police apologise unreservedly for the "horrendous ordeal"
Oliver Duggan has a BA in Politics and Parliamentary Studies from the University of Leeds and an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City University London. He works as a freelance reporter and editorial assistant for The Independent and i with a focus on Home Affairs and politics.
Thursday 27 June 2013
A 10-year-old boy from Oldbury was seriously injured in an attack by a police dog in his grandmother’s back garden on Sunday, it has emerged.
The incident, which occurred when officers responded to reports of a people stealing copper cables nearby, saw Tom Cutbill bitten by a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois cross.
West Midlands Police confirmed today that they would carry out their own investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, the child remains in hospital undergoing treatment for the bite.
Chief Inspector Ian Marsh apologised “unreservedly” to the family for what happened, adding: "This poor young boy has gone through an absolutely horrendous ordeal and my thoughts are with him and his family as he recovers from his injuries.
"Police dogs and their handlers receive intensive training and play crucial roles in the arrest of suspects, but on the very rare occasions where things go wrong, it's vital we understand why and learn the lessons to ensure it does not happen again."
Following independent assessments of their health, the dog and its handler continue to carry out regular duties, police said.
The boy’s grandmother, 52-year-old Bev Bakewell, told a newspaper: “I couldn't believe it. Tom was playing in the back garden fixing his scooter in the shed.
“They didn't even give any kind of warning they were coming into the garden, no shouts of "police" or anything, they just barged in. Tom was lying on the grass near the gate and the dog just went for him.
“That dog was still on the leash held by the policeman, it should have been well under control, there's no way the attack should have happened. My son came in through the back door and then suddenly we started hearing screaming.
She added: “It's like a horror movie, it's terrible, no-one can sleep, I don't think Tom will be able to play in my garden again, his mother and father are just devastated.
“Tom's back home now, but he's already been in surgery twice and has been left with two nasty gashes on the back of his leg. It's just terrifying that something like this could be allowed to happen.”
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