MORE than two dozen postal workers were attacked in the Romsey area last year, figures show.

National statistics show that the overall number of incidents in the UK has reduced by eight per cent, but the 27 attacks in the SO postcode area is a jump of 17 per cent on the previous year.

The Royal Mail says that attacks on postmen and women increase during summer holidays, when children and parents are at home and dogs are more likely to be outside.

Today it is launching a Dog Awareness Week and is calling on owners to ensure they understand the impact that aggressive animals can have.

Dave Joyce, national health and safety officer at Communication Workers Union, said: “The failure of some dog owners to control their animals remains a major concern for postal workers and the public.

“The number of attacks, with yearly hospital admissions for dog bites, increased by 76 per cent between 2006 and 2016.

“Seven postal workers are attacked by dogs every working day of the year which is unacceptable.  The whole idea of Dog Awareness Week is to highlight the problem and the repercussions for dog owners and the victims, many of whom are seriously injured.

“More and more dog attacks happen on postal workers at the front door or in the front garden and that number is increasing as we deliver more online purchased parcels.”

Between April 2017 and April 2018, 82 per cent of dog attacks on postal workers happened at the front door or in the garden, where pets are more likely to be unsupervised.

Residents are being asked to keep dogs away from their letterbox, not open their door while their dogs are not under close control, and not allow dogs to roam in their gardens.

Sue Bell, president of the National Dog Warden Association, said: “Royal Mail staff have the right to carry out their daily duties in safety, they should not be at risk of being attacked by uncontrolled dogs when delivering the post.

“Dog attacks on Royal Mail staff can be reduced by the keepers of dogs simply acting responsibly.”