The Importance Of Police Dog Units

Police dog units provide an “amazing service to officers” and need continued funding, the Chair of Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Zoë Wakefield was speaking as a public consultation opened on the National Police Chiefs’ Council Police Dog Standard – the questionnaire will close on 7 February 2024. It is gathering people’s feedback on new minimum standards on how dog units should carry out their day-to-day functions, including training, welfare and deployment.

Zoë encouraged officers to fill in the questionnaire, saying that police dogs offered massive value to the frontline.

She said: “A lot of the time in our force, you call up and say, ‘Is there a dog available?’ and there isn’t because they’re already committed elsewhere. The dog units suffered a lot during the cuts and got massively restricted, so they’re in demand.

“Police dogs are really, really important. They provide such an amazing service to officers on the ground, as well as to specialist units. There definitely should not be any cuts. If anything, dog units should be expanded and developed, because what the dogs can offer is massive.”

Zoë added that she hoped the consultation wouldn’t result in a “one-size-fits-all solution” for every force.

She said: “Currently, each force tailors their dog units depending on the force makeup, environment and location. What you want police dogs to do in the Met, for example, in the middle of London, is probably totally different to what you want police dogs to do up in Cumbria, where they’ve probably got more search dogs because of their vast rural areas. Whereas, I imagine in London they’ve probably got more weapons dogs, and bomb disposal dogs.

“But it’s probably good to review the use of dog units, because there might be some best practice in one force that can be used in other forces.”

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