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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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What of time do police have in which to investigate

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What period of time do police have in which to investigate an allegation of a person having been bitten by a dog? Thank you.

Alex Hughes :

My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today. I need to ask you some preliminary questions to be able to help you.

Alex Hughes :

Could you explain what happened and when in a little more detail?


An incident took place in May 2013, and the mother of the child who was bitten reported it to the police. She indicated that she "didn't want any acton taken, but was just letting them know". The incident was at a Kennel Club Champioship Show and therefore the KC became involved. Subsequently the dog was banned for life from being shown. After many months and following two unsuccessful appeals through the KC system, the ban was lifted after the owners' oral hearing appeal was successful. The police had indicated to the KC tht they were not interested in the matter as theKC had banned the dog. So presumably, as long as said dog cannot be shown, it is quite acceptable for the owners to take the dog to public parks, etc having had no restrictions imposed through the courts, ie Control Order, etc, assuming of course that the owners had been found guilty under either Dangerous Dogs Act or Dogs Act legislation! did the police not have a duty of care to the alleged victim to investigate the matter sooner? Is there a period of time in which the police must investigate the matter and decide if a prosecution is to be initiated irrespective of any KC investigation? My question is for the owners' benefit, not the victim or her mother!

Alex Hughes :

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is the primary legislation. Section 3(3) is the relevant section for your purposes and deal with the aggravated offence of a dog dangerously out of control in a public place and causes injuries. There is no time limit to prosecute for this offence - its an either way offence with a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment. As such the police are still within time to investigate/prosecute/charge. There is no legislation that says that the police must investigate a crime within a particular period of time - alyhough there is case law that says that should be within a "reasonable" time frame. The main determining factor is the evidence that needs to be gathered and the time limit for a prosecution as mentioned above.

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