December 11 2013 Latest news:
Dean Kilpatrick, Reporter
Friday, July 20, 2012
More than a hundred postmen and women were attacked last year
A postcode area of Kent has seen more than a 50% increase in dog attacks on postmen and women in the past year.
Figures released by Royal Mail showed that incidents in the TN postcode increased by 53% on last year’s figures, and the company is asking dog owners to help protect their staff.
The TN postcode, which covers Tubridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Ashford, saw 75 delivery workers attacked between April 2011 and April 2012.
CT postcode, which covers Canterbury, Thanet, Dover and Folkestone saw 18 incidents, the Medway towns had 37 attacks and DA, which covers Dartford and Gravesend, had 19 reported problems.
There are fears the rate of attacks will increase in the summer months, as dogs are left unsupervised in the garden as parents focus on their children indoors.
Communications Workers Union health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: “The age old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter.
“Thousands of our members are bitten every year and hundreds suffer debilitating injuries every year which leave them with physical and psychological scarring.”
The figures show an increase in dog attacks nationally, and Royal Mail has expressed its concern about the upward trend.
Director of safety for Royal Mail in the south east Tom O’Kane said: “Clearly, most dogs are not inherently dangerous. However, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.
“The number of attacks is unacceptably high. Even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control.”
Although 18 delivery staff were attacked in the CT postcode between April 2011 and April 2012, this has been a fall in attacks and the company has thanked its customers.
Mr O’Kane added: “We would like to express our thanks to our customers in the CT postcode area for working with us to help reduce the number of attacks by 14% since 2010.
“Now we want to reduce this number further as there are still too many attacks taking place.”
Royal Mail has asked its customers to consider any danger its staff may face if they have a dog, and has issued tips including keeping dogs away from mailboxes or putting them in cages around delivery time.
The company has spent more than £100,000 on awareness campaigns and equipment, including 90,000 posting pegs which allow postmen and women to protect their fingers whilst posting letters and parcels.
Law changes, which will see owners of dangerous dog owners face up to 18 months in jail, will be implemented on August 20.
Attack figures (April 2011-April 2012): TN postcode: 75 attacks (+53%); CT postcode: 18 attacks (-14%); ME postcode: 37 attacks (+9%); DA postcode: 19 attacks (+12%).