Five canine police rookies have passed their training course to become fully-fledged drug sniffer dogs.
Billy, Duke, Pearl, Tank, and Charlie (whose name was chosen by public vote) have graduated from a drug detection course, held at Kempston over the past six weeks.
The dogs and their handlers will be working across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire with the Dog Unit as licensed police dogs.
Head of Collaborated Joint Protective Services for the three forces, Bedfordshire’s Assistant Chief Constable Mike Colbourne presented the handlers and their partners on four paws with certificates recognising the completion of their training.
ACC Colbourne said: “The Dog Unit’s training staff should be extremely proud of their efforts in producing five brilliant new assets, which I am sure will equip officers across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire with an additional tool in the fight against drugs.
“Equally, I hope the handlers who took part in the course are proud of what they have achieved and I hope they and their dogs enjoy a varied and enjoyable career with the team.”
The six week course saw the Labradors and Spaniels, aged between 12 months and two years old, and their handlers complete a number of exercises around detecting controlled drugs. Small quantities of drugs were hidden in increasingly difficult places, including houses and vehicles, where there are numerous places to hide and disguise items.
Additionally, the training team also taught the dogs to detect cash and ammunition. All five dogs are now well equipped to enjoy a fulfilling and varied career within the unit assisting officers around the three counties.
PC Jason Keir was one of the BCH Dog Unit instructors who, with colleagues, ran the course. He said: “These new drug detection dog teams will work across the three forces and provide invaluable support to officers. Tasks that might take an officer a number of hours to complete, such as a searching a house, can be quickly and thoroughly completed with a dog due to the high level of training they have received.
“For the dogs it won’t really seem like work at all, more of an extension of a favourite game, but for us their amazing abilities are essential to our work, so we ensure the dogs are kept stimulated and place their welfare as our highest priority.
“As part of this, throughout their careers with the BCH Dog Unit, the dogs and their handlers will be regularly assessed. Not only does this ensure they’re keeping to the highest standard of training, it also makes sure the dogs are in peak physical fitness and health. Any issues found can then be immediately addressed.”
Further information, the latest news and photos and videos about the BCH Dog Unit can be found on the team’s Facebook and Twitter pages: www.facebook.com/BCHPoliceDogs www.twitter.com/dogpoliceBCH