Dog handlers - 943/13
Dated: 07 Jan 2014
Date of request: 05/12/2013
Date of response: 06/01/2013
Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')(FOIA)
Thank you for your email dated 5 December 2013 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.
As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.
1 in relation to your dog section can you tell me if your handlers currently have use of a Police vehicle to transport the Police dogs from their home address to their place of work when on duty.
2 if your dog handlers are using their own vehicles to transport the Police dogs to their place of work what allowances are provided ie essential users allowance.
3 when a handler is not on a duty day and is walking/exercising their Police dogs are they considered to be on duty when the Police dog is in a public place as I understand they are paid a handlers allowance.
4 how many dog handlers have registered/submitted claims in relation to noise induced hearing loss in the last 10 years.
5 if any payments/settlements were paid in relation to noise induced hearing loss can I ask how much the payment was.
6 is your dog section currently taking part in any advertisement/sponsorship to raise funds for the force or department if they are can I ask what it involves.
7 what health and safety risks have been identified in the dog sections health and safety risk assessment in relation to the hearing of the dog handlers.
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Dog Section, Finance and Legal Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you as follows.
2. The allowance provided to Dog handlers using their own vehicles to transport Police dogs to their place of work is that they may claim up to £100 annually for incidental expenses incurred for cleaning the vehicle used to transport their police dog(s).
3 Dog handlers are paid a 'handlers allowance'. As for handlers being on duty at that time then technically the answer is "no" however; if an incident occurred then they would notionally be on duty for the purpose of any incident/claim that may occur involving the dog or themselves.
4 & 5. One claim has been submitted in the time period specified in your request however this was subsequently withdrawn therefore no compensation has been paid in relation to this matter.
7. A Health and Safety Risk Assessment of dog handlers work has been conducted and this included noise. Dog handlers are not exposed to noise levels above the accepted safe limits as determined by legislation. Dog handlers transport dogs in vans which have bulk heads which separate them from the dogs thus reducing noise. The Dog Training and Handling Risk Assessment concludes the risks associated with barking in transportation can be addressed by training. Dog training discourages dogs from barking whilst travelling in private vehicles. Where a risk of excessive noise is identified, consideration will be given to an action plan in the interests of the health of the officer concerned, this would include additional training for the animal.
The brick kennels are designated hearing zones and hearing protection is worn in this area by kennel attendants who work in this area. Kennel attendants undertake audiometric testing by the Force Occupational Health Unit.
Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another. Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data. For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.
The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police. Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation. In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.
How to complain
If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure which can be found at: http://www.northumbria.police.uk/foi/disclosurelog/foicomprights.asp
If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.