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Barnsley Fan Given Cash Compensation After Police Dog Bite

Monday July 18 2011




A Barnsley fan has been awarded £3,750 compensation by South Yorkshire Police after he was bitten by a police dog while he was on his way to a match.

The incident - which took place in April 2010 - took place at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane and the man, 22, was also served with a Section 27 order.

The Football Supporters’ Federation helped him defend his case after he claimed that he had been unfairly treated.

The fan, who had not been named, said he had been with his dad when he got swept up in a crowd of people who were getting rowdy.

He said: “I felt a push in my back and not realising who it was, I said, ‘What the F are you doing?’ Before I'd even finished speaking I was pulled out of the small group and across the road by one policeman and a female officer. There was also a dog handler behind me and the dog - an Alsatian - jumped up and bit me on the back.

“The handler pulled it off and kept on going but it had pulled my legs away. The two police officers just carried on pulling me along the road and across to some railings on the other side of the road outside a disabled ramp. Handcuffs were against my back, as was a knee, and my face was against the railings.
“I tried to explain to the officers that I had been bitten and was in pain. The female officer told me to shut up and that there was nothing there. She told me to stop moaning and that she was bored now. My dad was asking why they’d arrested me and one of the officers said I had been arrested for a public order offence. My dad asked what they were going to do about the bite and was just told to go away. I told him, ‘Just go dad – there’s no point in you getting arrested too.’”

Deighton Guedalla Solicitors, who acted on behalf of the fan, made claims for false imprisonment (covering his detention by the police), assault (covering the force used by the officers and the dog bite – if the dog was deliberately set on him), negligence (covering the dog bite if the dog was not deliberately set on him), and breach of human rights (covering the issuing of the Section 27 notice).  The settlement covered all of those claims.

Police claimed the fan was with a gang of youths intent on violence - which he denies as he had gone to the game with his dad.

“It’s definitely changed how I look at football and I've not been to many away games since. From the age of six I've been a season ticket holder and regular away match-goer, I went to the majority, but not now, I see it different. I’m always looking over my shoulder and I only went to two away games last season. It’s hard to explain to people that I hadn’t done anything wrong. If I was at the front I could maybe have even understood - but I wasn’t and I've never caused trouble before.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Derby matches can be highly charged but are usually good-natured affairs, with trouble caused only by a minority of people. South Yorkshire Police will continue to take whatever action is needed - including the use of Section 27 notices - to police such games in a bid to keep the majority of those attending safe. On occasions where fans believe mistakes have been made, the situation will be reviewed and, if appropriate, action taken.”

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