Dog Section

Police dogs are a very important asset to the Police service. They help tackle crime by the detection of suspects, missing people, recover lost or stolen property, and can also be extremely useful in controlling public disorder.

Like most animals, a dog in its wild state would depend on its nose for survival and this natural ability is put to full use in police work. A dog uses its keen sense of smell to detect and follow both ground and wind born scent.

A great deal of care and thought goes into selecting dogs for police work. It is vital they have a good temperament; they also need to be physically fit, inquisitive, well socialised, and bold, have strong motivation and be keen to play and interact with people.

Wiltshire Police Dog section currently consists of 15 Constables, 1 Sergeant, 1 trainer and 1 administration assistant. At present there are 30 operational Police dogs - 16 are general purpose dogs, 3 are explosive search dogs, 5 are drugs search dogs, 5 are Conflict management dogs and 1 is a passive drugs dog.

general purpose dog

General purpose dogs

Trained to track criminals or missing persons, search buildings and open land for people, search for property bearing fresh human scent, chase and detain people are are used for crowd control.

explosive search dog

Explosive search dogs

Trained to search for commercially available and military explosives and used throughout the country. They indicate to the handler with a ‘passive’ indication without disturbing the explosive.

passive drugs dog

Passive drugs dog

Trained to indicate to the handler the presence of controlled substances.

conflict management dog

Conflict management dogs

Trained in a similar vein to the general purpose dogs they are frequently deployed throughout the county at fire-arms incidents to offer a less lethal option than a conventional fire-arm.

drugs search dog

Drugs search dogs

Trained to search for all controlled substances with a passive indication to prevent the loss of evidence. They are frequently used to assist in the execution of drugs warrants and to search vehicles for drugs.

 

The majority of Police dogs are ‘donated’ to the Police by members of the public. Some are purchased as young dogs or puppies and others come from rescue centres such as the RSPCA.. Dogs are brought from various sources and assessed for a period of time prior to commencing training to assess suitability.

Training is based on play and exercises are slowly built up over a period of time with the emphasis of fun and reward for the dog.

Dogs live at home with their handler in a specially built kennel in the handler’s garden. Generally large dogs work until the age of 7 or 8 and smaller dogs until they are 9 or 10. In most circumstances Police dogs retire with their handler and become family pets. If this is not practical, Police dogs are re-homed with suitable owners. All food, vets bills and kennelling is paid for by the Police (during the working life of the dog).

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