73-year-old woman dies after police dog bite

A 73-year-old woman who was bitten by a police dog has died. Irene Collins was injured by the dog when she gave police access to her home on Berwick Hills during a chase.

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The duties of a police dog

The dog section at Cleveland Police consists of 15 general purpose dogs. Five of them are trained to work with the firearms team, two can detect explosives and eight can detect drugs, weapons and money.

The breeds used by Cleveland Police are German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Labrador and Labrador/Spaniel cross.

They are trained from the age of between 12 and 18 months and are put through a 13 week training course after they have shown skills in safety, efficiency and control.

Cleveland Police say the main duties of a police dog include:

  • Searching for people or property
  • Barking when something is found
  • Tracking the path of a person
  • A police dog can easily outrun a fleeing suspect and they are trained to detain a person until the officer arrives
  • If the suspect stops - the dog is trained to stand off and bark
  • A police dog can be used to quickly clear areas and provide extra support in large crowds
  • To disarm threats of serious violence, such as a person with a weapon.

A dogs career can last as long as 7 years and throughout this time they live with an officer.


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