Four German Shepherd dogs from South Yorkshire Police have crossed the seas to become Royal Gibraltar Police’s (RGP) first dog section in 20 years.
South Yorkshire Police’s Dog Training Unit is one of only six Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) approved dog training schools within the UK and was chosen by RGP to reinstate their dog section, providing a challenging and strenuous 13- week training course for the dogs and for the officers, who had no previous dog handling experience.
SYP Dog Training Instructor Mick Gentile, travelled to Gibraltar in May this year to deliver the course, which is the first training the unit has delivered to an international police force.
The four dogs provided to RGP from SYP, were Police Dog Prince, Police Dog Major, Police Dog Zulu and Police Dog Tara. All four dogs were bred at the Dog Support Unit as part of the accredited puppy breeding scheme established by Dog Training Manager Harry Morton back in 2008.
The 13-week course covered all the operational and supportive requirements of the police dog handler and the training provided the dogs with the skills required to provide specialist support for a myriad of situations, including searching for people and articles used in crimes, tracking and protection.
Police Dog Prince and PC Mark Penalver, Police Dog Zulu and PC Gerry Martinez and Police Dog Tara and PC Janssen Olivero, took part in their “Passing Out Parade” at the end of the course in July to mark the successful completion of their training.
As part of the parade, the handlers demonstrated their control over the dogs with a short session of “heelwork”, which involves the dogs reliably responding to commands from their handlers, aswell as taking part in routines such as “recall”, which involves the handler instructing the dog to detain a running criminal, however is recalled back to the handler mid chase.
Police Dog Major unfortunately did not qualify at the end of the course, however he will still be utilised in other areas of policing, ie working with the drugs squad, in the future. His handler PC Nicole Buckley, did successfully complete the course and will be working with another dog soon.
The Commissioner of Police in Gibraltar, Edward Yome, who attended the parade stated that it had been an excellent partnership with staff from SYP and in training the officers and the dogs, and he was pleased the dog section had now returned to RGP.
– Dog Training Manager Harry Morton
I am exceptionally pleased we have been able to work in partnership with Royal Gibraltar Police and provide them with a dog section unit after such a long period of time without one.
Mick invested a great deal of time in selecting and preparing the dogs whilst in the UK, and even when faced with difficulties in Gibraltar, working the dogs in extreme heat, training novice handlers, he resolved all the unique challenges to ensure the success of the project.
The Dog Training School at Niagara goes from strength to strength, and this successful new relationship with an international force will hopefully open up more opportunities and possibilities overseas. SYP has also seen £20,000 in profit as a result of the partnership with RGP, which we will invest back into the school to continue developing and delivering successful training, schemes and operational results.