Met Police handler injured after force dog deaths

Met's dog training centre
Image caption The dogs were found in the vehicle in the Met's dog training centre in Keston

A police dog handler has been treated in hospital after going missing while on duty following the deaths of two of his dogs that were left in a car.

The animals died after being left in a vehicle on one of the hottest days of the year, at the Met Police's Keston training centre, in London, on Sunday.

The officer, widely reported to be Sgt Ian Craven, was later found in Newham, east London, with a hand injury.

Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said he was "very saddened" by the deaths.

The Directorate of Professional Standards has begun an inquiry.

Officers had to force their way into the car containing the animals, after being alerted.

'Precautionary treatment'

The working Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd puppy were taken from the dog training centre to an emergency vets, but both later died from heat exhaustion.

Police have not officially named Sgt Craven, but confirmed an officer had been initially declared "missing" after "suddenly leaving his duty posting".

A Met Police spokeswoman said: "On Sunday 26 June, at approximately 12:25hrs, police were alerted to a police officer suddenly leaving his duty posting, causing concern for the officer's safety and welfare.

"The officer was treated as a missing person and a search began, eventually locating him in Newham borough suffering a hand injury.

"He was taken to an east London hospital as a precaution. He is currently receiving medical treatment."

Disciplinary inquiry

The RSPCA, which is also investigating the incident near Bromley, where temperatures reached almost 30C on Sunday, advised people not to leave dogs in vehicles "for any length of time" during hot weather.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been made aware of the incident and the subsequent investigation.

Sir Paul said: "I'm very saddened by what's happened and we are taking it very seriously.

"There's an investigation going on. It's being led by the RSPCA, with a separate internal disciplinary investigation going on in the force."

The Met has about 250 working dogs and the animals at the training centre in Keston were either donated or bred on site.

The centre was set up in 1954.

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