A 10-year-old boy has received hospital treatment after being bitten by a police dog while playing in his grandmother's back garden. West Midlands Police have issued an unreserved apology to the child and his family after the incident, which happened on Sunday afternoon during a search for metal thieves in the Oldbury area of Sandwell.
The force has informed the Independent Police Complaints Commission, and is carrying out its own investigation into how the boy came by serious injuries while the dog, a German shepherd-Belgian Malinois cross, was on a leash. The dog's handler had been sent to support fellow officers who were searching an area near Western Road, Oldbury, for four men seen running away from a quantity of copper wiring.
Chief Inspector Ian Marsh said: "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. We apologise unreservedly for what has happened and have launched an investigation to fully understand exactly how an innocent young lad came to be bitten by a police dog in the safety of his own back garden."
He added: "Police dogs and their handlers receive intensive training and play crucial roles in the arrest of suspects day in, day out, but on the very rare occasions where things go wrong, it's vital we understand why and learn the lessons to ensure it doesn't happen again."
The officer and the dog involved in the incident continue to carry out regular duties after an initial independent assessment.