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  1. ITV Report

Lottie the trainee sniffer dog hunts for 'explosives' at Bristol Airport

Lottie is training to be an explosives detection dog with Avon & Somerset Police. Credit: ITV West Country

Lottie is among more than 40 explosives detection dogs from police forces across the country that have been taking part in a major training exercise at Bristol Airport.

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Lottie and the other sniffer dogs are put through their paces by their handlers throughout the terminal building and airfield, testing their ability to detect substances that could potentially harm members of the public.

The exercise, which was co-ordinated by Avon and Somerset Police's chief dog instructor, Sergeant Denis McCoy, supports the cross-government CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy - a major part of which is keeping air passengers safe.

You can just see Lottie being put through her paces among passengers. Credit: ITV West Country

Dogs are known for their incredible sense of smell and their ability to sniff out harmful substances is what makes them one of the best assets in the fight against terrorism.

A key factor in producing and maintaining the very best explosives search dogs is training.

Locations like Bristol Airport are busy environments. Continual opportunities to train in this type of location makes for an even more robust and effective dog and handler team.

– Sgt Denis McCoy, Avon and Somerset Police
Lottie made some new friends during her time at Bristol Airport. Credit: ITV West Country

The initial course for Avon and Somerset Police's explosives detection dogs is eight weeks of intensive training on a daily basis. The force uses positive methods where the dog is given a treat or toy as a reward.

Lottie seemed very pleased with the tennis ball she got for tracking down some dummy explosive in a knapsack.

Lottie was rewarded for tracking down some dummy explosives - one day she may do it for real. Credit: ITV West Country

Chris Morgan, the Head of Security at Bristol Airport welcomed the exercise. He said,

"This training will give the dogs and their handlers an invaluable insight into the workings of an airport and will ensure they are as ready as they can be to operate here - detecting and preventing crime and keeping our passengers safe."