A police dog has mauled four people after escaping from its kennel while off duty from Greater Manchester Police.

The dog attacked members of the public in Glossop, Derbyshire, last night and police were called to the scene.

One man reported that he had been bitten by a German Shepherd-type dog in the town.

Half an hour later a 13-year-old girl was attacked. She was bitten on her arm and leg.

A 48-year-old man who tried to rescue the girl sustained scratches and the dog ripped his shirt.

Another 18-year-old man who also tried to intervene was bitten on his arm, although a third man assisting the girl was not injured.

The dog's handler caught the animal at around 9.50pm on King Street.

Derbyshire Constabulary is now investigating how the dog managed to escape and is working with Greater Manchester Police to determine what happened.

Police dogs are widely used by forces across the country. Greater Manchester Police has its own Dog Training Unit where police dogs develop specialist skills to aid officers.

The initial training course takes 13 weeks and involves teaching the dog obedience and searching techniques.

All dogs are assigned a handler who stays with them throughout the dog's service.

At present, Greater Manchester Police has over 110 dogs who work in tracking, building searches and general criminal work.

Mostly, these are German Shepherds but other breeds are also used, including Rottweilers, Belgian Shepherds and Giant Schnauzers.

They serve the force for up to seven years and then normally spend their retirement at their handler's home.