§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Chief Constable of Durham on the use he makes of police dogs to intimidate or attack persons already in custody.
§ Sir F. Soskice
My hon. Friend has been good enough to send me the Press cutting on which he has based his Question. It relates to an altogether exceptional case. I understand from the Chief Constable of Durham that on medical advice it was necessary to remove to hospital from a 109W police cell a very violent prisoner who had armed himself with a length of timber ripped from the fittings of the cell. In the confined space it was found impossible for police officers to approach him and disarm him without the risk of serious injury. A police dog was able to wrest the wood from the prisoner and confine him in one corner of the cell, when police officers were able, although not without great difficulty, to remove him to hospital. The dog was at all times under control, and at no stage did he attack the prisoner. I understand that when the case was dealt with at Durham Quarter Sessions the Deputy Chairman expressed the view that the use of the dog in these circumstances had been justified.