Digital media detection dogs have joined Hertfordshire Police
Research into the use of ‘digital media detection dogs – and their training – has been funded nationally
Sniffer dogs have long been used to find drugs or explosives, but the latest canine recruits to the Hertfordshire Police are trained to sniff out mobile phones and laptops.
The three new digital media dogs joined the force last year, as part of the dog unit that’s shared between Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire police forces.
They are trained to sniff out a full range of digital devices, such as mobile phones, USB memory sticks and even SIM cards.
Hertfordshire Police say research into the use of ‘digital media detection dogs – and their training – has been funded nationally.
And the dogs – ‘specially trained to locate anything with a storage unit’ – are already, they say, hard at work.
“These dogs have assisted with a number of warrants with some fantastic results working with their handlers alongside colleagues in the search,” said a spokesperson for Hertfordshire Police.
The addition of the latest recruits is flagged in the ‘independent dog welfare visitors visitors scheme annual report’, which was presented to the Hertfordshire Police and Crime Panel on Thursday, June 24.
And following the meeting Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “The digital dogs are a fantastic additional resource for detecting criminal activity and keeping the people of Hertfordshire safe.
“They are also an excellent example of how collaborating with neighbouring forces in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire enables such highly specialised services to be available to Hertfordshire Constabulary.”
According to the report, this year the shared unit trained ‘several’ more drugs, cash and weapons dogs, as well as two ‘victim recovery’ dogs.
The Independent Dog Welfare Visiting Scheme has been running since 2012, although Hertfordshire has been running a visiting scheme since 2006.
The six volunteers are reported to have made 31 visits in 2020/21, which – despite the Covid pandemic – is two more than the 29 conducted the year before.
And, according to the annual report, no serious concerns were raised by the volunteers during that period.
Paying tribute to the volunteers in the report, Mr Lloyd says: “As we reflect on what has been a unique and testing year, it would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to all those who give their time freely to supporting this important scrutiny function.
“This year more than ever, the dog welfare visitors have shown how invaluable they are.
“Without them we couldn’t conduct the important scrutiny and assurance function we do.”