Police boost ‘sniffer’ capabilities

The RCIPS will soon have greater K9 capability thanks to four new additions to the team.

Police sniffer dogs

PC Antonio Jackson with Jordan, left, and PC Paul Dewing with Gemma. Photo: Submitted

Two police officers and two new puppies are currently going through training to become operational K9 unit members in the New Year, stated a press release.

PC Paul Dewing and Senior PC Antonio Jackson have been working with Jordan and Gemma, two nine-month-old German Shepherds, for the last few weeks and will be developing them into fully functioning drug and tracker dogs over the next couple of months.

‘These new additions will bring our team up to five police officers and seven dogs which is great for the RCIPS. The K9 unit has an incredibly important function within the service,’ said PC Henry McField, head of the unit. ‘These animals provide assistance that cannot be matched by man or machine. The canine’s sense of smell is one of the most important tools it has and it’s widely thought to be a million times better than a human would ever know possible.’

The two new PC’s will go through more than 400 hours of intensive training. Before graduation the teams must complete and pass a set of qualifying exercises which are judged by the master trainer. Once they have graduated, they will be proficient in obedience, searching for and locating illegal drugs and master protection.

PC Paul Dewing has been a police officer for 15 years. ‘I’ve always bred and trained my own dogs, in particular German Shepherds, and now I can use this interest at work which is fantastic,’ he said.

‘The training is tough, but it’s going well and both Gemma and I are learning fast. We’re definitely looking forward to graduating and getting out on the streets.’