Image of police dog
Durham Constabulary, Cleveland Police and North Yorkshire Police are to merge their police dog sections to create a single integrated service from summer 2016, in a move that will reduce overall costs by more than three million pounds over the next five years and enable a substantial 24-hour dog unit to be retained across the three Forces.
Police dogs carry out a wide range of duties to support police operations, including tracking people, chasing down criminals, finding explosives, cash, weapons or drugs, “passive” drug identification, keeping public order and supporting firearms officers. Many of these tasks require highly specialised training, which means that, at the moment, each Force only has a limited number of police dogs with these skills.
Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary embarked on a shared dog unit earlier this year and hope to build on this success through the further collaboration with North Yorkshire. Police dogs and their handlers from the three forces will all be trained in the same way and will adopt the same tactical approaches. This will give each force access to more police dogs per shift, as well as greater access to specialist police dogs to cover particular types of operations.
The decision to progress the combined dog section was made last week by Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, Chief Constable Michael Barton, and their counterparts in the other two Forces, as
part of the Evolve Programme – a three-Force initiative to look at how the police can improve services and save money by collaborating across organisational and geographical borders.
Commenting on the decision to create an integrated dogs section, Ron Hogg, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham said: “Police dogs and their handlers provide a really valuable service, and I want to make sure that we keep that service strong, despite the financial pressures facing police services across the country. This decision to combine the dogs and dog handlers from three Forces into a single team will save money, and secure the police dogs function for the future. That is good news for our region.”
Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “An integrated dogs section is simply common sense. Criminals don’t recognise borders, and we need to take that into account in the way we structure our specialist services. This plan will give us more officers and dogs available for deployment. Managing specialist services can be difficult if you have limited resources and there are peaks in demand, but this integrated service increases our options, so we can provide the right service at the right time.”
Notes to editors: The Integrated Dog Support Unit will improve operational capacity, provide the police with a more flexible resource and reduce costs by a minimum of £600k per year across the three Forces – with £259k of those savings in Durham.
Posted on Thursday 29th October 2015