A man repeatedly punched a police dog while it was helping officers with an arrest, Scotland Yard have said.
Police were called to reports of an assault in Hayes, in which a woman was allegedly hit in the back of the head and punched in her right arm shortly before 10.20pm.
An hour later they were called again to reports of an attempted robbery on a bus in a nearby road.
A woman claimed a man had repeatedly tried to take her phone on the bus before he ran away.
Officers deployed the Met’s dog unit and the man was chased in West Drayton.
But when they apprehended the man, officers said he ‘struggled and repeatedly punched the dog’.
The suspect was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries after he was bitten by the dog.
He has now been released under investigation.
Superintendent Emma Richards said she was ‘incredibly proud’ of the officers and Ernie.
‘Violence against anyone – whether it is a member of the public, a police officer or police animal – is completely unacceptable and this should send a clear message that we will take such acts of violence seriously,’ she said.
‘The Met’s Dog Support Unit do an amazing job of protecting the public, apprehending offenders and taking dangerous weapons off the streets on a daily basis and this is just one example of their great work.’