What's the role of a police dog?

Police dogs in transit
Bloodhound dogs are often used in search and rescues Photo: PA

Police dogs are trained specifically to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel in their work.

Types of police dogs:

  • Search & Rescue dogs - used to locate suspects or find missing people or objects.
  • Detection dogs - used to detect drugs or explosives which may be carried on a person.
  • Arson dogs - trained to pick-up on traces of materials at sites of suspected arson.
  • Cadaver dogs - used to detect the odour of dead bodies. Dogs' noses are so sensitive thatthey are even capable of detecting bodies that are under running water.
A bloodhound dog
Bloodhound dogs are often used in search and rescues Credit: PA

Midlands police dogs:

West Midlands Police has 64 general purpose dogs and 30 specialist dogs. General purpose police dogs are either German Shepherds or Rottweilers.

The force recruited it’s first two police dogs in May 1951. They were called Kim and Flash.

In Staffordshire, the Police's Dog Support Unit are taking the lead in search technology.

The team have acquired a digital FidoCam - a camera unit which can be used by police dogs during searches.

FidoCam in action in Staffordshire Credit: ITV Central

This bit of kit is attaches to the dog's head, so officers can see the world as the dog sees it.

There are many situations when this technology will be beneficial to our officers.

For example, when searching for a dangerous person, dogs are sent into a building with the camera to search for them.

Staffordshire Police are the first force to use the FidoCam.

A litter of police dogs Credit: West Midlands Police

Puppy training:

In the West Midlands, pups aged between approximately seven weeks and 12 months old are homed temporarily with puppy walkers.

This helps them to experience family life, household noise, the street environment and to socialise with people and other animals.

Retirement or death:

Police dogs retire if they become, pregnant, are raising puppies, or are too old or sick to continue working.

If police dogs are killed in the line of duty, they get the same honors as their human partners.

Janus, the crime fighting Belgian Malinois Credit: ITV Central

Janus, the crime fighting Belgian Malinois, retired last month after collaring hundreds of criminals over the years.

He was involved in almost 450 arrests in four years. A police professional labelled him as "one of the force's finest".