Postal workers return to a delivery office in west London
Postal workers report a huge number of dog attacks every year REUTERS/Toby Melville

Retired high court judge Sir Gordon Langley will investigate the growing number of dog attacks on Royal Mail staff.

The number of dog attacks on postal staff is betwen 3,500 and 4,000 each year, according to latest figures and the former judge has been commissioned to explore ways of cutting down on that figure.

His report may lead to a tightening up of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. Three out of four attacks on postal workers are by dogs on private property, therefore exempting the owner from prosecution under the act.

The investigation was announced by Royal Mail chairman Donald Brydon on the back of an NHS report that overall hospital admissions for dog bites across Britain have soared to 14.8 million over a six-year period.

He set up the inquiry after pressure from the Communication Workers Union, which claims the number of bitten staff is as high as 5,000 every year.

Royal Mail spends £100,000 on protecting employees from dogs but has been unable to stem the 4,100 working days lost because of dog bites, reported the Independent.