Keeping safe - in your neighbourhood

Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs - LEAD© - is a police-led, initiative founded in the London Borough of Sutton in South West London to encourage responsible dog ownership of all breeds of dog. It seeks to provide advice to the public on dog issues, improve dog safety and dog welfare. It also deals with anti-social and inconsiderate behaviour by individuals with dogs in a way that protects and reassures the public. It is aimed at all dog owners in Sutton whether in private or rented accommodation. This work is being promoted through regular dog roadshows, engagement with dog owners during regular patrols and through day-to-day contact with owners of dogs that come to police attention. To achieve this we are working closely with our partner agencies, which include all Registered Social Landlords like Sutton Housing Partnership and Roundshaw Homes, and the RSPCA. Surveys of local residents highlight that issues concerning dogs, such as nuisance dogs and dog fouling, are high on the list of concerns amongst residents in the borough – and LEAD is aimed at tackling these concerns. As well as encouraging responsible dog ownership and giving advice, there are times when it is necessary for police to intervene, initiate control measures and ultimately prosecute offenders. We will intervene when dogs are used by owners to commit crime, dogs are linked with anti-social behaviour or prohibited types/breeds come to notice.

Why was LEAD Started?

Lead was started after a woman was attacked and killed by a dog in Wallington in December 2010. Police in Sutton set about working with key partner organisations to launch the LEAD initiative as a structured and co-ordinated approach to encourage responsible dog ownership.

Control measures, sanctions and legislation

We will act to enforce the law and protect the public whenever necessary and where legislation permits. Measures include:

1st ‘Come to Notice’ letter.

This will include key details of the incident – details that will be shared with relevant partners. Letters will be sent with supporting literature from The Kennel Club, RSPCA and Battersea Dogs Home and other literature.

2nd ‘Come to Notice’ letter

Should the dog’s behaviour come to notice again, a second letter will be hand-delivered by the local Safer Neighbourhoods police team. If the dog owner is a social housing resident, the landlord will contact the dog owner within seven working days to remind them of, or enforce, their tenancy agreement. Continued anti-social behaviour, could result in permission to have a dog being withdrawn or even the property being repossessed.

Acceptable Behaviour Contract

As the second letter is sent, an Acceptable Behaviour Contract – a voluntary agreement between the police and the individual – will be sought. If this is declined, the police Anti-Social Behaviour Unit will monitor the dog’s behaviour for at least six months.

Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), Community Protection Notice (CPN), Contingent Destruction Order on conviction under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Continued anti-social behaviour could result in a CBO, CPN, Contingent Destruction Order on conviction under the Dangerous Dogs Act or an appropriate Dog Control Order section 2 of the 1871 Dogs Act.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Sentencing changes:

14 years’ imprisonment if a person dies as a result of a dog attack,

5 years’ imprisonment if a person is injured by a dog attack, and

3 years’ imprisonment if an assistance dog either dies or is injured by a dog attack

Chris Lyons, Community Safety Manager at Sutton Council said:“The London Borough of Sutton recognise the significant impact dog related issues can have upon the local community, their perception of safety and actual levels of crime. In response we have worked with Sutton Police to support the development of the LEAD initiative which provides a cost effective early intervention framework to address owner’s behaviour as well as providing appropriate risk management tools to more serious cases. We will continue to work with Police colleagues through the initiative to further improve community safety outcomes for our residents”.

Useful contacts

Noisy dogs, dog fouling or stray dog call Sutton Council on 020 8770 5000

Illegal breeds, organised dog fights, dangerous dogs or anti-social behaviour with dogs call Sutton Police on 101

Health and welfare of dogs call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999