Royal Mail bosses have called for tougher legal sanctions against owners of dangerous dogs that attack postmen and women.

Figures show that 19 postal workers across the Bradford postcode area were attacked by pets between April 2011 and April 2012.

Nationally, in the same period, more than 3,000 postmen and women were savaged by dogs.

An inquiry commissioned by Royal Mail Group chairman Donald Brydon looked into dog attacks and concluded that tougher legal sanctions were needed.

Now, Royal Mail will take a more robust approach to suspending deliveries to addresses where dog attacks take place and will pursue legal action against owners of dangerous dogs.

Mr Brydon said: “Dog attacks cause injuries and terrible trauma to our staff. Nobody should have to endure this and our staff are at an increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do.

“We welcome the findings in Sir Gordon Langley’s independent report, especially his call for an urgent reform of the laws in England and Wales. We have also taken on board his comments that Royal Mail should take a more robust approach with customers whose dogs attack postmen and women. We will adjust our policies immediately.”

Sir Gordon said: “It is a matter of real concern to learn of the extent and frequency of attacks on postal workers and to find that for a considerable time there has been almost general agreement not only on the inadequacies of the present law in England and Wales, but also on the nature of the reforms required to address it.”

The inquiry recommended that the law target owners rather than dogs. It highlighted that the legal sanctions available when dogs attack people on private property are largely limited to action against the dog, including issue of a control order or a destruction order. Tougher measures are available against owners whose dogs attack in public places.

The report calls on Parliament to repeal current legislation and provide a new statute which enables criminal sanctions to be taken against owners of dogs which attack people, wherever it takes place. It also calls for compulsory microchipping of dogs.