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Thames Valley Police use new kit to release dog bites

Thames Valley Police’s dog handlers are using a new "failsafe" piece of equipment to release a dog bite.

The kit, called a gag stop, is used to take a dog's jaws off when they’re biting a suspect.

They say they’re one of only a few forces to use the equipment..

The small metal device is inserted into the little gap at side of the dog’s mouth and when turned a ball hits the back of the tongue to create a gag reflex which releases the bite.

All TVP dog handlers now carry them as part of their personal protective equipment. 

Sergeant Johnny White told Police Oracle: “This means when you're in that heightened situation where someone's been bitten, they’re screaming, adrenaline’s high…this gives a failsafe 100 per cent that the dog comes off.

“If we’re saying ‘Out, out, out” and the dog’s not coming off we’re causing more injury than we should we doing.”

He added its use had been approved by vets.

PC Darren Staley, a dog handler instructor, said: “A lot of people mistake these with a break stick – when you put in a stick and prise the jaw open – but it’s not that at all.

“There's no injury to the dog and we can get the dog off their bite straight away.”

“Great bit of kit,” he added.

He said they would recommend other forces followed suit with its use.

“In training a verbal out can be successful. We are aware that in the real world, the dog has got its own mind and might think, actually, no, I'm not going to listen to this point.

“Its failsafe. When you're out on the street and you need to take that dog off the bite this will work 100 per cent of the time, whereas the verbal out could fail. So why wouldn’t you use it?”

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