The Dog Section is one of
the most popular units with the public.
Highly-trained dogs have played a vital role in the work of
Dorset Police since 1953, when the county was among the first in
Britain to set up a specialist section.
Since then the Force’s dogs and
their handlers have been involved in working on the front-line to
detect and deter crime, as well as acting as important ambassadors
for Dorset Police with our communities.
The Dog Section is based at Ferndown and
Weymouth and is covered by one inspector, one sergeant and 13
constables responsible for 22 dogs. The Force currently has 12
German Shepherd dogs mainly trained for general purpose duties, and
nine dogs trained in sniffing out drugs, firearms, cash or
explosives. In June 2014, 10-week-old German Shepherd puppy Gus
joined the team.
Potential canine recruits are chosen
for their excellent breeding and even temperament – essential
qualities for the role they will play.
The German Shepherds tend to be
males, because they are bigger, while sniffer dogs can be male or
female, as long as they have a brilliant nose for the job!
Successful candidates are trained in obedience, teamwork,
tracking, how to search for people and objects and how to chase and
hold suspects on the run. Sniffer dogs also receive specialist
training to develop their sense of smell – already said to be 200
times more sensitive than the human version. The explosives dogs
are also taught to bark and retreat when they identify suspect
devices, allowing human experts to step in.
The dog handlers are permanently
paired up with at least one German Shepherd and sometimes a
specialist dog as well. The dogs first meet their handlers when
they are aged between 10 and 18 months and become full-time
partners during a canine career that can last seven years. They
often become lifelong companions, living as family pets with their
handlers after retirement.
For regular updates on our dogs follow
Twitter and visit facebook.com/dorsetpolice.