BBC BLOGS - Guy Smith's Met Matters

Archives for August 2010

More teeth for the Dangerous Dogs Act?

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Guy Smith | 16:01 UK time, Wednesday, 25 August 2010

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Do we need to change the law on dangerous dogs?

London's deputy mayor for policing Kit Malthouse thinks so. This morning he demanded urgent government action and called on the public to sign a petition.

He believes the solution is tougher punishment.

He says owners, who use their dogs as weapons, should face the same penalties as carrying a knife. That's up to a four year jail sentence.

Is that too harsh? You could argue some offenders get lesser sentences for serious crimes like rape.

But having just talked to the mother of Maurice Lambert, you could argue four years might not be enough.

Maurice was just over two years old when he was savaged by a pit-bull-type dog in a playground in Primrose Hill. He needed 40 stitches to his right leg.

Although, Maurice was not an intended target for some gang member who wanted to take down a rival. He was the victim of an owner who was unable to control his/her dog.

Kit Malthouse also wants the ban on specific breeds to continue.

And he's calling for the legislation to be extended to include private land. Currently, police can only seize a dog and prosecute an owner when an attack takes place on public land.

Not much help then for your local postie.

According to the commucations union the CWU 6,000 postmen and women are attacked every year. They say 70 per cent of those are on private land.

Yet, don't you have to ask the question: aren't all dogs unpredictable? If your normally, child-friendly Labrador goes berserk in a park, kills another dog and bites an owner, should you face a four year stretch in jail?

Are owners of bull breeds being demonised? Are the politicians and campaigners forcing the issue? What do you think?

Tweeting Carnival to keep you safe

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Guy Smith | 09:57 UK time, Tuesday, 17 August 2010

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Europe's biggest street party is a litmus test for the Met.

With the Olympics just two years away, it shows the world how British police handle large-scale events.

Carnival 2010 is expecting more than a million revellers over this August bank holiday weekend.

It's tiny compared with the number of visitors predicted for London 2012.

Met Officer enjoying Carnival in 2009 in Notting Hill

Yet this year for the first time, Scotland Yard will be using a Twitter account to communicate with the crowds.

So yes, even the Met is embracing the social media revolution.

It's something the capital's police service apparently tried out during the Climate Camp demonstrations last August and again they think it'll be a good idea to connect with the masses.

Well, at least for those who have succumbed to tweeting. It's currently all the rage in BBC London's office in Broadcasting House . I hear nothing else now but: "Have you tweeted today?" Help!

Anyway, I've just been reading the Met's foray into the digital world (https://twitter.com/CO11MetPolice) and it's a mix of warnings/advice and on how to stay safe.
Will it work? Are you hooked on Twitter? Is it taking over your life?

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