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Going Dutch to train Police Dogs

POLICE OFFICERS have been learning foreign phrases to teach imported police dogs how to track down criminals in the UK.

Dog handlers at Avon and Somerset police have taken on three dogs from Holland as part of a drive to recruit quality dogs for the force.

The Professor, Amigo and Dutch have left their training routes in Holland and are getting used to life at the mounted and dog section in Bower Ashton, Bristol.

The Professor and Amigo are German Shepherds, but Dutch is a Belgian Shepherd Malinois – a breed which is new to most UK police forces, but popular for police work in Europe. Malinois are becoming more popular with UK forces and a number are already working as operational dogs.

Officers brushed up on their language skills to recruit the canines which were being specifically trained to a recognised standard for work as police dogs in Holland.

Sergeant Hardy Hussain, who travelled to Valkenswaard in Holland with PC Paul Nesbit-Bell and PC Andy MacDonald to hand pick dogs suitable for the force, said: ‘The recruitment of The Professor, Amigo and Dutch goes to show that we will go to any length to ensure we take on dogs that are of the highest calibre.

‘These dogs are full of enthusiasm and have their own unique characteristics.

‘We have learned a few Dutch phases which the dogs have been trained to respond to. The handlers which look after the Dutch dogs are now able to fluently speak the commands.’

Police turned to Europe in search of new police dogs because they have found it increasingly difficult to find good quality dogs suitable for police work in the UK.

The Professor and Amigo are both two years old and Dutch, who is 15 months old, were supplied by company Vondervalken and have already been trained to a high level but they will undergo further training to meet Home Office standards which assess safety, efficiency and control.

Once they have met the benchmark standard they are expected to be operational in Avon and Somerset within eight to 10 weeks.