Pooches On Parade

Last week, 2427 had some furry new recruits join us for the evening.

Last week, 2427 had some furry new recruits join us for the evening. The Metropolitan Police Dog Section visited the sqn to give the cadets a talk on the role of a dog handler and what sorts of incidents the dogs get deployed to.

We were joined by Inspector Leighton and PC Lavidge, who has two serving police dogs and is therefore known a dual handler.

First off, the cadets were introduced to PC Lavidge’s German shepherd and were asked what sort of jobs they think he would be deployed to. The shepherds are usually used for tracking criminals or crowd control.

PC Lavidge explained how the dogs alert the handlers to the fact that they have found something – usually by barking very loudly!

Then they were introduced to PC Lavidge’s labrador, who definitely won over the hearts of the cadets (she was definitely not as scary as her big brother!)

The labradors are given the official title of ‘Forensic Evidence Search Dog’ and are trained to sniff out human remains, blood and other bodily fluids and also rhino horn/ivory. Although the shepherds can do these jobs as well, the labradors are smaller and therefore can fit in to tighter spaces.

The labradors have a different way of alerting the handlers to something they have found – they will just stare at it intently, not moving and not taking their eyes off of it until the handler goes and finds them!

PC Lavidge then set the dog a challenge – while she was looked after by Cdt Valdez, he hid her tennis ball somewhere in the room and challenged her to find it. Of course, it didn’t take too long before the ball was found and then it was playtime! Once the dogs find something, they are rewarded with their favourite toy.

“I’d love it if they could come back and do another talk, or even if we had other dogs come and visit. I loved the bit where the dog went hunting for the ball!”

Cdt Elizabeth Sole

After a brief break, it was a chance to show off the shepherd’s skills. A third handler bravely volunteered to don the ‘padded suit’ and ran off. Before he’d even got 20 metres away, the dog had caught him. Nobody can outrun a fully trained police dog in full flow!

“I really enjoyed the evening. The best part was definitely when the handler was chased by the dog. The officer who did the talking was really good at explaining things – and he was funny!”

Cdt Katie Windover