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A vicious thug who smashed a police officer and his dog in the face with a metal bar before sinking his teeth into the animal’s ear has been jailed for two years.
Jamie O’Neill appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Friday where he was also told he will also be supervised for 12 months following his release from prison.
The 33-year-old previously admitted attacking PC Paul O’Donnell and police dog Remo with the offensive weapon after he was pursued by the duo in Ayrshire on March 26 this year.
O’Neill, who is originally from the Brighton area of England, was running from the police after assaulting his former partner and throwing a brick through the window of a property.
After being caught at the Nethermains Industrial Estate in Kilwinning, O’Neill launched his violent attack which left the officer needing hospital treatment.
Police dog Remo, a five-year-old Belgian Malinois cross, had to undergo root canal surgery on his canine tooth which was eventually capped with a £4000 titanium implant.
The brave hound also had stitches put in his ear after O’Neill ripped a chunk out of it with his teeth.
The court was told that O’Neill had been in and out of prison since he was 16-years-old and had moved to Scotland to “get a break” from his peer group in England.
His defence solicitor, Mr Connolly, added: “Valium was at the background of this offending behaviour on this particular date.”
The lawyer said his client, who is said to be “extremely ashamed” of his “impulsive and reckless behaviour”, plans to move back to Brighton following his release from prison.
Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane said: “The sentence that I am going to impose is one that is inevitable because of your appalling behaviour on the 26th of March this year.
“I see no alternative but to send you to prison.”
O’Neill’s 24 month sentence was back dated to March 27 when he was first remanded in custody at HMP Kilmarnock.
Speaking about the horrifying incident, PC Paul O’Donnell 42, said: “I found O’Neill and he was shouting and bawling before trying to make off through the bushes.
“I sent Remo to stop him and when he was only about 10ft away Remo jumped for him.
“O’Neill had a metal bar behind his back and he’s swung it round and smashed Remo in the face which did all the damage.
“Remo then kind of backed off and started barking. I’ve then put hands on O’Neill to try and detain him, he started fighting with me and Remo has seen this and grabbed him by the calf.
“O’Neill then just folded over, grabbed hold of Remo’s head and sunk his teeth into the dog’s ear.
“But the reality is that if you bite a police dog, all that’s going to happen is he’s going to bite you even harder.”
The dog handler continued: “The damage was a bad wound to the centre of his ear and at the edge of the ear, a nick was taken out of it where the guy’s tooth has ripped a part of it off.
“All I could I see was the blood pouring out of Remo’s ear. At first, I didn’t know I had been hit in the face with the bar.
“A traffic cop that was following me told me to put my hand to my face and there was blood pouring down my face.
“Because of the adrenaline and worrying about Remo, I just didn’t realise.
“My main concern was to get Remo to the vet in East Kilbride and it was only when we were halfway there that my concussion started to set in.
“It’s not the kind of incident you expect to come across on a Tuesday afternoon but you never really know what you’re going to come up against.
“Any other member of the public would go ballistic if someone smashed their dog in the face but we have to be professional and make sure we get the arrest to keep the public safe.
“Remo lost about a third of his tooth during the incident. They did root canal surgery on the remaining tooth to save it and then tapered it down to fit the titanium crown.
“There’s still a good centimetre difference in size because obviously they couldn’t make it into a nice, pointy tooth. They’ve capped it off and it’s done the job.”
Paying tribute to his four-legged comrade, PC O’Donnell said: “He’s a great dog.
“Say if we go to meet someone, he’ll be lying on his back getting his belly rubbed. He’s the friendliest dog you’ll ever meet.
“But what people forget is that when he goes into work mode, he’s an absolute machine.
“To me, he’s perfect. He’s a great dog to have about and I obviously know he has my back.”
A new shower block has opened at Stirling Police Station after concerns were raised about the “diabolical and unhygienic” facilities officers were being forced to use.
Staff based at the Randolphfield office were previously left using a former prisoners’ cell complex and showers due to the condition of the station’s locker room.
Mould covered large sections of the walls of the staff changing room, which was first highlighted to Police Scotland chiefs in October 2018.
Due to a lack of funding, work to tackle the problem only began in May this year.
In the meantime, staff had no access to operational showers or changing facilities and had to use the former prisoners’ cells and showers before going out on the job.
The custody suite at Stirling Police Station was closed on health and safety and fire risk grounds in 2017.
People in custody are now transported to a ‘hub’ at Falkirk Police Station or the nearest alternative.
Work on the upgraded shower block was completed earlier this month after concerns were raised by staff and the Scottish Police Federation.
Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Divisional Commander said: “Stirling Police Station has recently completed the refurbishment of its shower block facilities, which is a welcome upgrade to our estate.
“More and more staff across the Forth Valley Division are choosing to cycle or run to work, which is great to see and an important part of the well-being of staff.
“The new shower block will ensure staff have appropriate facilities at the station whenever they need them.”
Grant McDowall, secretary of the east area committee with the Scottish Police Federation, said: “We are delighted to see the upgraded shower and changing facilities at Stirling Police Station.
“It is heartening to see that the concerns we previously raised with the force have been taken on board and that work has been undertaken to address them.
“Having access to suitable shower facilities is an important part of officer well-being and go a long way to making a sometimes difficult job that little bit more comfortable.”
Five police officers have been taken to hospital after suffering multiple injuries including dog bites whilst dealing with an incident in Midlothian.
Officers raced to the scene on Shadepark Gardens in Dalkeith at around 4.10am on Thursday after being alerted by the Scottish Ambulance Service.
A woman within the property had suffered multiple dog bites and was taken to hospital for treatment.
Whilst dealing with the incident, four police officers were attacked by three dogs who were in and around the flat at the time
Two officers were bitten on the legs and arms, a third was scratched on the stomach and a fourth suffered a hand injury.
A fifth officer was also hurt after allegedly being punched in the face by a man.
All the officers were taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment alongside the man and woman.
One of the dogs was caught and placed in the back of a marked police van during the incident whilst the other two were held within the flat.
A heavy police presence, including a specialist dog unit, remained at the scene before the two animals were successfully removed from the flat at 10.30am.
Chief Inspector Arron Clinkscales, Midlothian Area Commander said: “Officers were called to an address in Dalkeith at around 4.10am on Thursday July 4 following a request of assistance from the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“Upon arrival at the property one woman was found with injuries caused by multiple dog bites and has been taken to hospital for treatment.
“Four police officers sustained injuries from dogs whilst within, and in the vicinity, of the property. A fifth officer was assaulted, sustaining a facial injury.
“The injured officers, along with the man and woman, have been taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.
“A man and woman have been arrested in connection with the incident which will be investigated with the utmost seriousness. I wish all injured parties a full and quick recovery.”
Andrea MacDonald, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “This type of incident highlights the challenging and unpredictable situations that police officers can find themselves in on a daily, if not hourly, basis.
“Our thoughts are with those involved and we wish them a speedy recovery.”
A police officer has been treated in hospital after an alleged stabbing in Fife.
The incident took place at around 12.45am on Saturday at a property in Lundin Court, Tayport, while officers were responding to reports of a disturbance.
The 46-year-old male officer suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries after the alleged blade attack and was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee for treatment to a chest wound.
He has since been released and is recovering at home.
A 37-year-old man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder. He is due to appear at Dundee Sheriff Court on July 1.
Brian Jones, health and safety lead for the Scottish Police Federation, said: “We obviously wish our injured colleague well and hope he recovers quickly.
“This type of incident is a timely reminder that police officers face unpredictable violence and danger on a daily basis.
“They place themselves in harms way so that others may be safe.
“We are eternally grateful that on this occasion our colleague will live to tell the tale.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Police can confirm a 46-year-old man was stabbed in the chest while responding to a disturbance in the Tayport area.
“The incident occurred shortly before 1am on Saturday.
“The officer received a puncture wound and required hospital treatment, but was later released and is recovering at home.
“A 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with attempted murder.”
Ten police officers have lost a court battle to keep alleged “inappropriate” Whatsapp messages a secret after misconduct proceedings were raised against them.
The group took their fight to the Court of Session in Edinburgh where they argued that Police Scotland using the messages would be breaching their human rights.
Lawyers for the officers said that their right to privacy would be hindered and that there was no legal basis for the force to use the ‘private’ messages.
But Police Scotland argued that they were entitled to use the messages in disciplinary proceedings and that the comments made could bring the force into disrepute.
The messages were discovered on a mobile phone during an investigation into alleged sexual offences in 2016.
None of the ten officers were a suspect however a fellow officer came under suspicion and his phone was seized and searched. The officer was later cleared.
The alleged improper remarks, made during group chats, were discovered by a detective constable who handed them over to the Professional Standards Department of Police Scotland.
The officers launched a bid to have the messages kept secret and sought a judicial review meaning the courts would make the decision as opposed to a police misconduct panel.
In a written opinion, published on Friday, Lord Bannatyne said that there was a legal basis for the messages to be used for disciplinary proceedings.
He also found that, due to the nature of the messages and the standards an officer is expected to keep both on and off duty, that the group members did not have the same right to privacy as other members of the public.
Lord Bannatyne said: “The principle purpose of the police is the protection of the public. Officers behaving in the way set out in these messages may be held to have contravened the Standards.
“An officer who fails to meet the Standards, for the reasons put forward in the present case on the basis of the messages, can reasonably be inferred to be likely to be someone who would lose the confidence of the public and cause a decline in the general public confidence in the police.
“It is essential for the purpose of successful policing that the police maintain the confidence of the public.
“If the public loses confidence in the police in this way then public safety would be put at risk as the police cannot operate efficiently without such public confidence.
“This fits in with an intervention being necessary for “the prevention of disorder or crime”. “The police, if the public loses confidence in them, are likely to be less able to prevent disorder or crime.”
He continued: “I observe that certain aspects of the behaviour displayed in the messages shows a mind-set where the public’s right to be treated fairly is called into question for example depending on their race, religion or sexuality.
“Once more an officer who holds these types of views is less likely to have the confidence of the public and the public safety would be put at risk by having an officer of that type for the reasons I have set out.
“I consider that the argument comes to this: given the Standards and the regulatory framework to which a police officer is subject then he or she is in a different category from an ordinary member of the public and that because of their position as police officers their reasonable expectation of privacy is different from an ordinary member of the general 54 public.”
David Kennedy, deputy general secretary for the Scottish Police Federation, said: “We are disappointed that we have lost this case and are somewhat surprised at the outcome.
“We are currently working with our legal team to determine if we will be appealing the decision.”
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