The number of dog attacks recorded by police in England and Wales has risen by more than a third in the past five years, a BBC investigation has found.
Last year, there were nearly 22,000 cases of out-of-control dogs causing injury while in 2018, there were just over 16,000. This represents an increase of 34%, while the UK’s dog population is estimated to have risen by around 15% in that time.
The BBC’s findings are based on 37 responses to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made to all 43 police forces. Dogs which cause death or injury to a person or an assistance dog must be recorded by police.
The number of dogs removed from their owners by police has also risen, according to the data. Nearly 3,500 dogs were seized in 2022 across 33 force areas – up 36% from 2018 figures.
Paul Jameson, a specialist dog legislation officer for South Yorkshire Police, told the BBC: “Some dogs have not been socialised as much as they would have been (before lockdown) in terms of puppy training or training classes. Or being used to people coming to the home address. That can impact upon the dog and create stress.”
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said forces across the UK have been focusing on attacks.
Deputy Chief Constable Robert Carden said: “Incidents can often be very alarming, but I want to reassure people that we are taking the matter seriously and we are cracking down on those who own or breed dangerous dogs.”