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Man attacked by police dog receives compensation after eight-year battle

No apology or admission received by police after unnecessary use of dog

10 February 2016

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A Leicestershire man who was attacked by a police dog more than eight years ago has received £10,000 compensation from the police.

Rhys Bennett, now 20, was playing with his friends in his local park in Sapcote when he was attacked by the Alsatian in October 2007.

The victim, who was 12 at the time, required facial reconstructive surgery and counselling because he was too afraid to leave the house alone after becoming 'petrified' of dogs.

Bennett also suffered an adjustment disorder, anxiety, and depressed mood swings which lasted for over a year. He was also bullied at school following the incident.

Rhys's mother Karen Bennett filed for compensation and requested an apology from Leicestershire Police in 2009 to no avail. Court proceedings were issued in June 2014.

Rhys had initially offered Leicestershire Police £10,000 to settle the claim in November 2014, which was ignored. With the case set to be heard at Leicester County Court on 1 February 2016, the police finally settled the case.

The desired result was only partly achieved, however, as neither an admission of liability nor an apology was received.

Dianne Collins of Nelson Solicitors, who represented Rhys, highlighted the 'truly traumatic experience' her client had faced both at the time of the incident and throughout the legal process.

'The Human Rights Act 1998 demands that any use of force by the police must be reasonable, proportionate and absolutely necessary,' she added.

'A police dog bite can inflict serious injury and is classed as the use of a weapon, just as a police officer using his baton on a person is also classed as use of a weapon. Deployment of a police dog should only be used when absolutely necessary.'

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