More than 1,000 people including officers and members of the public have been bitten by police dogs in the past five years in the region.
The figures have been revealed after West Midlands Police said the force would be compensating the family of a 10-year-old boy who was attacked by one of its dogs while playing in a back garden in Oldbury.
The force has recorded 988 bites in the past five years. The figure includes suspects and criminals.
Inspector Russ Evans from the force’s dog unit said: “People routinely tell us that the dogs are a welcome sight on the region’s streets – this is why West Midlands Police has more police dogs than any other force in the region and the force has national credibility with regard to the quality of dogs it provides for policing.
“The published figures relate to the number of times police dogs have injured a person in the course of their duties. Almost all of these relate to injuries suspects have sustained when fleeing from the scene of a crime and/or when they fail to comply with clear instructions from police officers.
The figure also includes the exceptionally rare case of a 10-year-old boy who was bitten by a police dog tracking metal thieves near to his Oldbury home. The force has unreservedly apologised for this incident, the circumstances of which are being investigated.”
West Mercia Police recorded 28 bites in the past five years on the public or suspects, with 14 of those resulting in complaints, while 11 bites on officers were also recorded. Among them was one officer who claimed for compensation of £1,500.
A West Mercia Police spokesman said: “Police forces and police officers are subject to exactly the same laws as every other employer and employee. All employers must do all that is reasonably practicable to prevent their employees being injured at work.”
Staffordshire Police recorded 17 complaints in five years for bites, with one from a member of the public and the rest from suspects.
Schoolboy Tom Cutbill, from Farm Road, Rowley Regis, suffered serious wounds above and below his knee when he was bitten while playing in his gran’s garden in Oldbury in June. Police were carrying out a search after a theft report.