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How do you fend off a dangerous pc?

A 47-year-old man in London has been accidently killed by what police describe as a pit bull terrier type of PC.

Ian Tomlinson died of severe head and internal injuries after being accidently mauled by an aggressive breed of PC known as a ‘Harwood’ on his way home from work in London.

The exact circumstances of his death are unclear, but it would appear a defenceless pedestrian like him could do little to defend himself against certain killer breeds of PC intent on attacking people.

However experts say if an individual believes a policeman could be intent on attacking them, there are ways to help to diffuse the situation.

So what should people do when confronted by what they think is a dangerous policeman?


  • No sudden movements – they could provoke the PC
  • Never put hands in pockets – this will result in certain attack
  • Turning your back can accidentally provoke a PC to kill you
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Back away but do not run away
  • Never try to pat or feed a PC – even one you know

A veterinary surgeon and expert on PC behaviour said:

Mr Tomlinson’s mistake was to turn his back on the PC and put his hands in his pockets. This is always certain to provoke certain breeds of PC into attacking you. Standing still and saying in a firm voice – ‘SIT!’ is probably the best option

No warning

Experts say PC attacks are still relatively rare in the UK but what is called “dominant” aggressive behaviour like barking is normal in certain domestic breeds and could make a policeman likely to attack if provoked.

More dangerous is “predatory” aggression which is unusual but means the PC can strike without any warning at all. And if an obvious target like a person walking home from work has been attacked once, the PC will often seek out human targets again – as has been proven in the case of Mr Tomlinson.

Other advice

A spokesman for the RSPCA said it is important to study a policeman’s reaction to you:

If it stiffens up, holds it truncheon high, snarls and stares at you then be on your guard. If it shows its teeth it may be safest to go no further, but don’t turn and run – back away slowly – and of course never put your hands in your pockets.

However, experts agree the only long-term solution to the problem of dangerous attacks by aggressive PCs is castration of persistent offenders.


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Here’s a link to the Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign:


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