Police Dog Units Are ‘Invaluable Tool’

Police dog units are an “absolutely invaluable tool” and must receive continued investment, the Chair of South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Steve Kent was speaking as a public consultation opened on the National Police Chiefs’ Council Police Dog Standard – the questionnaire will close on 7 February 2024. It is gathering people’s feedback on new minimum standards on how dog units should carry out their day-to-day functions, including training, welfare and deployment.

Steve encouraged officers to fill in the questionnaire, saying that police dogs were of immense value to the frontline.

He said: “Ask any response officer or traffic officer, or anybody who’s out actively working the streets. There is immense value to the presence of a dog officer in terms of apprehending suspects, dealing with public order, and dealing with violent offenders.

“Like everything else in policing, we would like to see improved investment in police dog units, but to be fair, in recent years we have grown our numbers of dog handlers and we are putting more money back into it. So it’s not something that’s been neglected in our force. You only need to see the arrests on a daily basis that are carried out with them. They’re an absolutely invaluable tool.

“We’d like to see it holistically improving though, so that it’s like 20 years ago, when you pretty much had a dog handler on every shift.

“We’ve got to at least maintain this service because it is something that is valued so much and makes such a big difference to officers on the ground. If you’ve got people who run from vehicles or officers after a serious offence, police dogs can be absolutely the difference between catching somebody and not.”