Royal Mail to step up dogs action

The Royal Mail has pledged to take more action against owners of dogs that attack postal workers after a new report called for tougher legislation.

The postal group said it will actively pursue legal action against the owners of dangerous dogs and take a more "robust" approach to suspending deliveries to addresses where attacks take place.

The moves follow publication of an independent inquiry into dog attacks on postal staff, which the Royal Mail said numbered more than 3,000 in the year to April.

Former High Court judge Sir Gordon Langley recommended that new legislation should be introduced to provide tougher legal sanctions against owners of dangerous dogs. The report pointed out that action cannot be taken if an attack takes place on private property, limiting legal protection available to postmen and women.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU), which has criticised the Government for failing to take action on dangerous dogs, said the report should be the catalyst needed to bring action. The union said the number of postal workers suffering dog attacks was nearer 5,000 a year.

Sir Gordon's report called on the Government to repeal current legislation and provide a new statute so that legal action can be taken against dog owners, wherever an attack takes place. New laws have already been introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with legislation planned in Wales.

Sir Gordon said: "It is a matter of real concern to learn of the extent and frequency of attacks on postal workers and to find that for a considerable time there has been almost general agreement not only on the inadequacies of the present law in England and Wales but also on the nature of the reforms required to address it, but to date it remains unchanged."

Royal Mail chairman Donald Brydon said: "We welcome the findings in Sir Gordon Langley's independent report, especially his call for an urgent reform of the laws in England and Wales. We have also taken on board his comments that Royal Mail should take a more robust approach with customers whose dogs attack postmen and women. We will adjust our policies immediately."

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "England will soon be the only part of the UK without updated dogs laws as Scotland and Northern Ireland have already introduced new improved legislation and Wales is legislating in the current session.

"This Government has procrastinated and steadfastly refused to act on the issue of dangerous dogs while people continue to suffer serious injuries and lose their lives in dog attacks."

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