The Metropolitan Police Force use Police Dogs in a number of ways, from searching for drugs and explosives, to apprehending criminals and detecting the missing and deceased. Luke, a police officer in the Met, tells us all about his Police Dog, Duke! Read on to find out more about the process of taking on and training a Police Dog.
1. What is the process of acquiring a new dog intended for Police duties?
Duke was born and bred at a Police Dog school. His father was a Met Police Dog and his mother was a Thames Valley Police Dog, so he comes from good stock! Over an eight week period after he was born, he was tested in various different ways to see whether he showed the basic attributes that a Police Dog would require, which he did. As a brand new handler, I picked him up from the dog school at eight weeks old and took him home.
2. How long was Duke's training and at what age did he start?
Up until the age of one year, Duke and I would attend the dog school two days a month and we introduced him slowly to playing and retrieving a toy, tracking, barking and then eventually an introduction to biting and seeking (finding people who are hiding). When he turned one year old, we completed a 12 week basic course which prepared him for going out on the streets.
3. What are Duke's duties at work, and does he work every shift with you?
Duke is what is known as a general purpose dog and works with me on every working day. He is trained to chase and detain a fleeing suspect, search and track suspects who have run off and are now hiding, find recently discarded property that may have been thrown or hidden by a suspect (they do this by sniffing for the recent human scent left on the item thrown), and searching for missing persons. He is also trained to assist specialist officers in dealing with suspects who are potentially armed.
4. What is Duke like at home, does he live the same as a pet dog would or do