Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Canine capers

(Some details from the open day info packs, and the website.)

The Police have used dogs since the 1890s and they remain crucial for certain types of police work. The West Yorkshire Police dog training team train both dogs and their handlers. The general purpose police dogs are trained to track search and detain, not always by biting. They behave in pasive crowds and will react to disorder. Firearms support dogs can carry remote cameras in the case of armed suspects. Drug search dogs do what it says on the tin, as do explosives search. It is stressed that the dogs are not used to eliminate suspect packages! The team also has a specialist body recovery dog, used to find bodies, but also victims in collapsed buildings.

The favoured general purpose dog is the German Shepherd (Alsation), whilst Spaniels are used for sniffer duty.

At Carr Gate, a sort of multi-disciplinary operational village, there are a number of inside and outside kennels, a couple of dozen at least. On our visit, a number of the younger dogs were roped off on the basis that they are not fully trained and will bite! They get between 8 and 14 weeks of training and once they are accredited they live at home with the handler and stay with them afterwards as pets once retired from active duty.

Surprisingly, the Police are always on the lookout for people to Foster puppies until they are 12 momths old, when they return to the Police for training.

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