‘Barking mad’ Police force plans to offer dogs a pension blasted by campaigners
A POLICE force are set to give their retired dogs a pension worth £1,500 each but the plans have been blasted as « barking mad » by campaigners today.
Published: Mon, November 4, 2013, Express
The UK first initiative will start next months and are designed to recognise the valuable contributions dogs make to the country’s police force.
However, campaigners have blasted the scheme expected to cost at least £39,000 for being implemented during a time of austerity.
Taxpayers Alliance political director Jonathan Isaby said: « Most Nottinghamshire taxpayers will want to see their Police and Crime Commissioner put in the doghouse after coming up with this proposal, which can only be described as barking mad.
« Police chiefs need to keep their spending on a tight leash, cut out unnecessary spending and focus taxpayers’ money on fighting crime. »
The scheme comes at a time when the UK police force are facing government cuts of £43 million.
At least nine of the force’s 26 dogs, which include general purpose and sniffer dogs, are expected to retire within the next three years.
He said: « We look after the people who work for us who have been police officers and staff – they get a decent retirement and I think it’s important the same is done for the dogs.
« Many of the force’s dogs are fit and healthy when they retire but some need medical treatment for injury or illness resulting from being worked hard while tackling crime.
« These dogs give willing and sterling service over the years in protecting the public so I am delighted to approve a scheme that will ensure continuing medical help once their work is done. »
His 41-year-old handler, PC Matt Rogers, said the dog has helped in hundreds of arrests and even saved his life.
He said: « I’m really pleased and I think it’s only right. « As an organisation that works with animals we need to set an example.
« With Rossi by my side while I’m tackling a suspect I almost can’t miss. »
A spokesperson for the Notts branch of the Police Federation welcomed the move but said it should not threaten pension plans for human officers.
Phil Matthews said: « It’s nice to see the force is going to put some kind of financial package together.
« The dogs are known for doing some fantastic work and we owe them a duty of care.
« I’m not opposed to it and I can’t see our members being against it. « But the amount spent on it needs to continue to be proportionate. »
While The Dogs Trust said they were « delighted » with the scheme and hoped other forces would follow suit.
In 2009 Cambridgeshire Police said they had set up a trust to fund a similar retirement plan for its dogs.