YOU may remember us introducing four puppies back in November 2021 – Holly, Jasper, Otto and Scout. Fast forward almost two years and we’d like to update you on how they are getting on in their roles as police dogs.
The four joined #TeamSWP as part of a puppy development programme for both general purpose and specialist search dogs. In previous programmes, puppies would spend their first 18 months with members of the public before being placed with a handler, and unfortunately not all passed the assessments.
But, for the first time, the puppies were placed with members of the dog section from 12 weeks, and as a result we saw a 100% pass rate.
Jasper and Otto are both German Shepherds. They became fully licensed general purpose dogs in May 2023. This means they are trained to help search for missing people, locate discarded property, provide public order support, and track and detain suspects.
Holly is a Cocker Spaniel, and she became a fully licenced specialist search dog – meaning she can sniff out drugs, cash and firearms residue – in October 2022. One of her best results to date was finding a quantity of drugs hidden behind a false wall.
Scout is also a Cocker Spaniel; he passed his specialist search training alongside Holly. Since then, he’s successfully found quantities of cash while searching houses and vehicles.
Inspector Elen Reeves said:
“I wanted to re-introduce the puppy development programme to ensure that we knew the full history of the dogs, and to enable them to bond with their handlers from an early age. Not only to strengthen their bond, but to introduce basic training at a young age to specifically meet the needs of a police dog.
“Our dogs don’t complete their basic course until 12-18 months of age, but prior to this they go through a structured development plan, starting with an early socialisation programme and ongoing assessments to ensure that the highest level of development is achieved.”