CANINE COPS: How the dogs on duty are Lancashire Constabulary’s best weapons

Police dogs Taz and Zeus - gereal purpose and tactical firearms support
Police dogs Taz and Zeus - gereal purpose and tactical firearms support
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Meet Lancashire’s top dogs tackling crime on the frontline.

These canine cops are some of Lancashire Constabulary’s best weapons in the war against crime.

We have general purpose dogs which are trained to locate offenders, search for property and are used in disorder situations for crowd dispersal.

PC Jon Kelly

Specially trained to sniff out illegal property and track offenders and missing people, the Lancashire police dogs get to places two-legged officers can’t reach.

And they have some pretty impressive results.

One dog, Kronos, recently tracked two burglars across fields and rough land, locating them hiding underwater. The offenders were out of sight of the land based officers and had even evaded the helicopter’s thermal imaging equipment but Kronos traced them through their scent on the wind.

Earlier this week, drugs dog Alfie sniffed out a large bag of cannabis which had been hidden within the centre console of a car he was deployed to search.

PC Jon Kelly, a Lancashire police dog handler based at Hutton, says: “Each dog handler has two dogs – a general purpose dog and a specialist dog, that live with us and work with us 24/7.

“We have general purpose dogs which are trained to locate offenders, search for property and are used in disorder situations for crowd dispersal.

“Then there are the specialist dogs – some have explosive dogs. My dog, Alfie is a weapon and cash dog.”

Every shift the dogs are out helping on drugs warrants, searching for missing people and providing a visual deterrent at football matches and places where there is a risk of disorder.

PC Kelly says: “One dog is as effective as six or seven officers when it comes to crowd control. None of the dogs are nasty dogs but when people hear them barking and see their teeth they do tend to back off.”

All the dogs undergo a rigorous training regime starting with several months initial training and having refreshers every six to eight weeks to ensure they are fully competent and safe.

PC Kelly says: “All dogs will bite but the thing that separates police dogs from domestic dogs and dangerous dogs is that when we tell them to release they do it on command.”

Dogs are trained to go for the right arm when they bite offenders as it shows a level of control and constraint – and is the most likely way to disarm someone with a weapon.

“Being a police dog is a fantastic life. With domestic dogs the owners go out to work and the dogs stay home but police dogs are always out, doing interesting and varied work. They have a fantastic work ethic.”

For updates follow the Lancashire Police Dog Handling Unit on Facebook.