The government is being urged to bring forward plans to help local authorities crack down on dangerous dogs.

London councils are calling for action as the problem with 'status dogs' used by gangs as weapons is growing.

In 2006 the number of dogs seized by the Metropolitan Police stood at 193, in 2010 the figure rose to 1,107. The number of dogs destroyed went up from 27 to 563 during the same period.

Now London Councils, which represents the capital's 33 authorities, is pressing the government to bring forward promised proposals for possible changes to the law.

Local authorities have the power to seize dogs they consider to be dangerously out of control and work with the police and animal charities to enforce the law and promote responsible dog ownership.

London Councils is calling on the government to increase the penalty for owning a banned type dog to bring it more in line with carrying an offensive weapon.

They are also calling for enforcement to made cheaper and quicker and for the law to be extended to include private land to protect those who have to visit other people's homes as part of their work.

Councillor Claire Kober, London Councils' executive member for crime and public protections aid: "Community safety is a top priority for London's councils.

"People need to be reassured that local authorities have the powers and resources to deal with dangerous dogs.

"People were sickened by the recent dog attack on policemen in east London and they are worried about dangerous, uncontrolled dogs and thugs using 'status dogs' as weapons.

"I urge ministers to publish plans as soon as possible and work with us to make sure we have effective measures to tackle this menace."