While it’s not uncommon for witnesses to be questioned in criminal cases, here’s a new one that you’ve probably never heard. England’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) needed a statement from an officer, not realizing that officer was, in fact, a police dog.
The CPS notified Officer PC Peach of the West Midland Police Department that his witness statement would be necessary because of his involvement with the criminal at the scene. While officers at the station initially told CPS that Peach was a K9 officer (actually called PD Peach, not PC), the Telegraph reports that despite the explanation that PD stands for “police dog,” prosecutors still insisted on the statement.
Like a good public servant, Peach provided the requested statement, but the prosecution team probably wasn’t quite expecting what they got.
Officer PD Peach, a K9 police dog, filled out the witness statement, describing the criminal while giving a little insight to his thoughts on the case.
With some shaky handwriting (paw-writing?), Peach filled out the form, first with some identifying information. “Statement of PC Peach” the statement started age 4. He provided his pawprint as signature following the verbiage “This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have willfully stated in it, anything which I know to be false, or do not believe to be true.”
Officer Peach’s statement is summed up in his native doggy language: “I chase him. I bite him. Bad man. He tasty. Good boy. Good boy Peach.” Signed, with Peach’s paw.
The statement was posted on the wall of the West Midlands Police Station and one officer snapped a photo and posted it in on social media, explaining, “CPS demanded a statement from ‘PC Peach,’ who is actually PD Peach. They were told several times Peach was actually a police dog but insisted on a written statement so the case handler sent them this.”
One Facebook user joked: “Typical of the CPS being dogmatic about getting statements from literally everyone present! I bet they are woofing it down!” Still another commented: “Does CPS stand for Clown Prosecution Service?”
The CPS was not amused, complaining to the police that they didn’t appreciate that their misunderstanding became a public joke.
DCI Julian Harper from West Midlands Police told The Huffington Post UK: “The Professional Standards Department are looking into this. Early inquiries suggest it is a light-hearted exchange as a result of a misunderstanding around a police dog and a police officer. The matter will be investigated.”
The Telegraph reported that “PC Mark Tissington, of West Midlands Police, who is believed to have shared the original picture of the witness form, has referred himself to the internal discipline unit although sources suggested it was unlikely to be reprimanded.”
The chairman of the West Midlands branch of the Police Federation, Ian Edwards noted, “It’s a difficult time for police and sometimes humor is a way of venting frustrations. I would urge our Professional Standards Department to be even-handed in the way they deal with it.”
The CPS didn’t comment on the misunderstanding.