Operational Police Dogs
We mainly use German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Herders as police dogs. Dogs and bitches selected for training must be healthy, of good temperament and no more than about two years old. Most importantly, they must be bold and courageous - without being too aggressive!
Dogs and their handlers start with a 12-week course, during which the dog is taught to follow a track or scent over various kinds of terrain. They are also taught to search for people or property which maybe hidden.
The dog must be obedient both on and off the lead, and must be under the control of the handler at all times. It must also show courage and determination when detaining a person who is trying to run away, or who is armed.
At the end of the course the dog will be licensed to carry out full operational duties with its handler, but will still have regular training sessions.
When dogs reach about eight years of age they retire into the care of their handlers.
Our specialist search dogs are normally Springer Spaniels. They are used to locate drugs, firearms and explosives. Dogs and bitches which show a high drive and willingness to retrieve toys generally make the best search dogs.
All specialist dogs are handled by officers who also have an operational police dog. The handler has responsibility for both training and operational deployment.