Paw patrol for Nottinghamshire Police as new sniffer dogs join the force

Criminals have been put on notice after Nottinghamshire Police welcomed two new sniffer dogs to its team of canine crimefighters.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 1:54 pm

Spaniels Coco and Sidney have just completed their period of mandatory training and are now fully qualified to sniff out drugs, cash, guns and ammunition on live police investigations.

The dogs, both two years old, were formally welcomed to the force at a ceremony at force headquarters and are now ready to take-on live operations.

Nottinghamshire Police has a total of 20 dogs currently on its books – 13 general purpose breeds for tracking and chasing down suspects and seven specialist sniffer dogs.

Coco and Sidney, who were already partly trained by other forces, underwent a further three weeks of training before being independently assessed by an external force at an exercise in Newark which saw the pair sniff out drugs hidden in cars.

They have now been paired up with experienced handlers and ready and waiting for live operations.

Chief Inspector Simon Allardice said: “As you can imagine, criminals who have these things in their possession are usually very keen that nobody else should get their hands on them – especially not the police.

"As a result they can be incredibly cunning in how they hide these materials in their homes, businesses or vehicles.

Sniffer dogs Coco and Sidney have now joined the ranks at Nottinghamshire Police. Photo: Nottinghamshire Police

“A large human search team will often find those things in the end, but there really is no substitute for a dog’s amazing sense of smell.

"It really is incredibly difficult for criminals to hide things from a well-trained dog and I am really delighted that we are now adding the number of specialist sniffer dogs on the force.

"This gives us greater capacity to carry out proactive searches and will also allow us to carry out more passive drug detection operations in our town centres.”

The new recruits have also been joined by Buddy, a new labrador puppy at the start of his training.

Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner, recently granted additional funding to the force to allow it to expand its dog section.

All sniffer dogs are independently assessed by officers from external forces and have their skills re-examined every year.

Expert dog trainer Bob Newham, who works with police forces all over the country, has been leading the dogs’ training.

He said: “Over the last three weeks we have been introducing them to all sorts of different environments that they will have to face going forward with their handlers.

“Part of the training we deliver uses a brick wall where we hide the various scents that the dogs are trained to detect. When they the demonstrate the correct behaviours we want they are rewarded.

“Coco and Sidney have both performed really well in their training and I am delighted that they have now met the required standard we expect of them. I am sure they will be a great resource for Nottinghamshire Police going forward.”

Mrs Henry said: “I’m a great fan of Nottinghamshire’s canine crimefighters and the vital work they do to keep criminals off our streets.

“There is no limit to the expertise and skills of these dogs – you only have to look at the long list of arrests and drug and cash seizures to realise the huge value and support they bring to operational policing.”