CHESHIRE Police paid out £46,073 in compensation and legal costs relating to people bitten by police dogs in the past three years.
The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act after a request by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme which showed UK forces shelled out a total of £770,000 in such cases.
Police chiefs say dogs are an essential resource and training of them is being constantly improved.
In one example, Cheshire police paid £2,500 damages to a 13-year-old boy bitten on the back, who had a phobia of dogs, and picked up legal costs of £7,500.
In another case, a police officer was paid £2,000 after they were bitten on the arm during training causing a minor soft tissue injury.
Forty-three forces provided a breakdown of their figures by the type of person bitten. Between them, 2,725 suspects were bitten, along with 196 police staff and 155 other members of the public.
Eight police forces reported more than 100 dog bites over the last three years.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Ingram, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on police dogs, said: “Police dogs are a valuable and essential resource which, when used effectively, make a valuable contribution to reducing and detecting crime and disorder and building safer communities.
“Working with dogs does bring with it different challenges. The ACPO Police Dog Working Group seeks to ensure that optimum performance is achieved from these valuable resources and that the training, deployment and management of dogs is constantly improved, devised and developed whilst maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and welfare.”