News and press releases

  • Royal Mail Group
    25 June 2018
    Over 2,200 attacks on postal workers in the last year
  • 2,275 dog attacks have taken place on postmen and women across the UK in the last year
  • The number of dog attacks on postmen and women has fallen across the country by 8 per cent, compared with the previous  year
  • While the overall UK reduction in attacks is encouraging, in several postcode areas the number of attacks has risen. In the postcode area “TQ”, attacks have increased by over 400 per cent.
  • The number of attacks is still too high and every dog attack is one attack too many, On average, there are still 44 attacks taking place each week, with some leading to a permanent and disabling injury
  • To raise further awareness, Royal Mail’s sixth annual Dog Awareness Week launches today and runs until 30 June. It aims to encourage responsible dog ownership
  • In the last year, 82 per cent of attacks on postal workers happened at the front door or in the garden. We are appealing to all dog owners to think TWICE when the postman calls
  • Royal Mail knows that dogs are not inherently dangerous. But, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels it or its territory is being threatened.
  • The number of dog attacks on postmen and women increases during summer holidays, when children and parents are at home and dogs are more likely to be out in the garden
  • Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness Week is supported by the Communications Workers Union and a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the National Police Chief’s Council the National Dog Wardens Association and Dog’s Trust
  • A special Dog Awareness Week postmark will be applied to all stamped items from Monday 25 June.

2,275 dog attacks have taken place on postmen and women across the UK in 2017-18. There are over 44 attacks every week in the country, with some leading to a permanent and disabling injury.

And while the overall number of UK attacks has reduced in the last year by 8 per cent, in some postcode area attacks are disappointedly increasing. In the TQ postcode alone, attacks on postmen and women are up over 400%. This is followed by the SK postcode (75%), OL (73%), AL (67%) and SL (63%).

As Royal Mail launches its sixth successive Dog Awareness week, it is appealing to dog owners to ensure they understand the impact of dog attacks on postmen and women who are only doing their job.

Royal Mail knows that dogs are not inherently dangerous. But, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels it or its territory is being threatened.

Royal Mail’s first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers across the length and breadth of the UK and in every community.

 

Last year, an attack on a postman in Paisley, Scotland, meant he was unable to work for three months. The owner was later prosecuted in the courts.

Alan Quinn a postman for 10 years, from Paisley was delivering to a house with a German Shepherd when he was attacked and bitten on his arm, which required hospital treatment and physiotherapy.

He said: “I had been delivering there for over ten years and the dog was never a problem but on this day, it got out and jumped on me at the external postbox and bit and tore into my arm and I was screaming for help covered in blood. The owner then took me to hospital. I never for a moment expected it.

“I’m not on the route anymore but I am very wary of dogs now - more than before. I’d just ask customers, please keep your dog away from the door, don’t have your dog loose in the garden when we are all on our rounds.”

Our Dog Awareness week runs from 25 to 30 June 2018. The week aims to raise awareness of the issue of dog attacks on postmen and women and encourage responsible dog ownership including tips for dog owners.

 

Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability said: “One attack is still one attack too many. Our research continues to show that attacks happen most often in the summer, so we are continuing our campaign to appeal to customers to help us cut attacks across the UK.

“I am pleased that the overall dog attacks numbers continue to fall, but I am still very concerned that in some postcodes attacks are on the increase. I am appealing to dog owners to think twice when the postman calls.  We know that dogs are not inherently dangerous. But, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels it or its territory is being threatened.

“Dog attacks have a devastating effect on our people and on our customers and we hope we can make a further impact in these areas. We will also be rolling out new interactive training for our people in the hotspot areas to try and help us to do that.  But people should remember that 82 per cent of attacks happen at the front door or in the garden so this is not just a Royal Mail issue, many other delivery, and utility companies and local authorities face the same problem.”

 

CWU National Health and Safety Officer Dave Joyce said: “The failure of some dog owners to control their animals remains a major concern for postal workers and the public. The number of attacks, with yearly hospital admissions for dog bites, increased by 76 per cent between 2006 and 2016. Seven postal workers are attacked by dogs every working day of the year which is unacceptable.  The whole idea of Dog Awareness Week is to highlight the problem and the repercussions for dog owners and the victims, many of whom are seriously injured.  More and more dog attacks happen on postal workers at the front door or in the front garden and that number is increasing as we deliver more online purchased parcels.

“We are appealing to all customers who are dog owners to work with us and think TWICE when the postman calls. Put the dog away in secure room before opening the door to collect and sign for your delivery. The vast majority of our customers and their dogs aren't a problem but irresponsible and reckless dog owners are. Customers are always pleased to see the postman or postwoman arrive as they’re eager to take delivery of the goods they’ve ordered but thousands of them unfortunately don’t give a second thought to the postal worker’s safety by putting the dog in a safe, secure place. There are tough court penalties and a criminal record for irresponsible dog owners including prison and unlimited fines so it’s in their best interest in more ways than one to make sure the dog doesn’t bite the postman or woman.”

To help promote dog safety, a special Dog Awareness Week postmark will be applied to all stamped items from Monday 25 June to Saturday 30 June 2018.

Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness Week is supported by the Communications Workers Union and a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, the National Police Chief’s Council and the National Dog Wardens Association.

 

“Royal Mail staff have the right to carry out their daily duties in safety, they should not be at risk of being attacked by uncontrolled dogs when delivering the post says Sue Bell, President of the National Dog Warden Association.

“Dog attacks on Royal Mail staff can be reduced by the keepers of dogs simply acting responsibly to ensure that their dogs do not present a risk when the post is being delivered. This can be as simple as:

  • Keeping dogs away from the letterbox
  • Not opening the front door with your dog not under close control
  • Not allowing dogs to roam around the garden

“Following the above advice is easy, failing to follow this simple advice increases the risk of an attack on Royal Mail staff, attacks that are preventable” added Sue Bell.

 

TV presenter and Battersea Ambassador Paul O’Grady is backing Royal Mail’s annual Dog Awareness Week to raise awareness of the issue of dog attacks and encourage responsible dog ownership. He said: “Dog Awareness Week is really important for reminding us of the need to consider how our pets behave with visitors to the home. Dogs are wonderful and give us an incredible amount of love. However, while your dog may adore you, he might also find it stressful to be around strangers. This can be especially true at home, where dogs can feel protective of their family and their property. It’s our job as responsible dog owners to train and socialise our pets and encourage good behaviour around not just postal workers, but all visitors to the home”

 

Jenna Kiddle Dogs Trust Canine Behaviour Manager at Dogs Trust added: “It’s worrying that there are so many dog bites recorded on postal workers, but the 8 per cent reduction is a step in the right direction and one we can hopefully bring down even further.

“As summer approaches and we all spend more time in the garden, there is a brilliant opportunity to work with your dog on their recall and behaviour around strangers visiting the home. At Dogs Trust Dog School, we run a five week training course for dogs and their owners, which covers a host of skills for everyday life, many of which can be applied when the postman or woman visits. The bond between a dog and their owner is so important, and with some simple direction we can help make a visit to your home stress free for you and your guests. For more advice on training your dog and details of your nearest Dog School, visit: www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk.”

  • Royal Mail postmen and women speak about their own experiences of dog attacks to colleagues and the public
  • Postmen and women who own dogs issuing top tips  to dog owners in a new poster and social media campaign
  • New interactive training for postmen and women targeted in the key hotspot areas which will start this summer.
  • Dog wardens will be visiting a number of Delivery Offices across the country giving dog safety talks to postmen and women

 

Please visit www.royalmail.com/dogawareness and www.royalmailgroup.com/dogs for hints and tips on dog safety.  

Ends

 

For further information, contact:

Royal Mail Press Office 0207 449 8246

Julie Pirone 07711 446358

 

Notes to editors

Top Postcode Areas for Highest Number of Attacks:

Postcode Area 2017/2018 number of attacks
BT 82
BN 63
PE 56
TN 49
PO 43
GU 42
S 42
CO 41
ME 41
AB 38

 

Postcodes where attacks have risen:

Postcode Area Increase on last year 2016/17 number of attacks 2017/18 number of attacks
TQ 475% 4 23
SK 75% 8 14
OL 73% 11 19
AL 67% 9 15
SL 63% 8 13
HP 63% 16 26
BB 60% 5 8
CO 58% 26 41
LL 57% 21 33
HU 56% 16 25

 

Top Tips for Dog Owners

Even the most lovable dog can be a danger to postal staff. Dogs are territorial by nature and if they feel they need to protect their family, they can become unpredictable.

Here are some ideas to help your postman deliver your post in safety:

  • Ensure your dog is out of the way before the postman or woman arrives. Place your pet in the back garden or a faraway room.
  • If you have a back garden, please close off the access, in case your dog could get round to the front when the postman calls.
  • Dog attacks can happen when you’ve opened the door to sign for an item. Please keep your dog in another room before answering the door and make sure children don’t open the door, as dogs can push by them and attack.
  • Give your dog some food or a toy to occupy them while your mail is being delivered
  • Wait 10 minutes after your mail has arrived to let your pet back into your hallway. Keep everything as calm and low-key as possible.
  • If your dog likes to attack your mail consider installing a wire letter receptacle.  It will protect your post, and your postman’s fingers
  • If it’s not practical for you to keep your dog away from a postman delivering your mail, please consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property.
  • Please ensure your dog is microchipped, wearing a collar and tag and that your contact details on the tag and microchip are up to date.

About Royal Mail plc

Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to around 30 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.