There are some cute new recruits at South Yorkshire Police. A litter of eight German Shepherd dogs have been born as part of the force’s puppy breeding scheme.
The births come as the force’s dog training school recently became only the sixth of its kind nationwide to be approved by the Assoication of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
Both developments have the potential to generate thousands for the force.
Harry Morton, who manages SYP’s Police Dog Training School: “The ACPO accreditation means we now have the ability to train our handlers, to train handlers from other forces, agencies and private security services and to train all instructors in every dog course from general patrol to searching for explosives, weapons or currency.”
“It is recognised by other countries throughout the world as an award that guarantees excellent standards.”
The force it the only dog training school in the country with courses on victim recovery, blood detection, clothes screening and serious sexual assault scene detection.
Harry: “Take clothes screening as an example. If you had a suspect for an assault and knew roughly what they were wearing at the time – usually around ten items – it would cost between £350 and £500 per item to have it forensically tested.
“But if you let a trained dog examine the items first, you could reduce the numbers sent off to the lab, meaning that work that might have cost thousands could cost hundreds instead.”
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Ingram, ACPO lead on police dogs, said: “In an effort to standardise and improve police dog instructor training throughout the United Kingdom, ACPO Police Dog Working Group (PDWG) have now initiated an ACPO Approved Police Dog Training School Scheme.”
“Prior to accreditation, each training school must satisfy the ACPO PDWG Executive Group on various criteria relating to instructional staff, dog welfare, training resources, transport and facilities.”
“I am delighted to say that South Yorkshire Police have met all the required criteria and have been awarded an ACPO Approved School Certificate.”
The working group spent over a year evaluating and assessing the courses run by SYP’s dog training school at Niagara, Sheffield, before awarding the accreditation.
And the icing on the cake came on 30th March when two-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd Cici gave birth for the first time to six dogs and two bitches.
Harry said: “They’re all absolutely brilliant. We’ll keep them for around another five weeks and then they’ll go to vetted volunteers, some of whom were at the birth, for the first year.”
“During the three years that we’ve run the breeding scheme we’ve supplied dogs all over the country, from Grampian to West Midlands and Cheshire.
“There’s currently a shortage of good quality German Shepherd police dogs, so I’d expect us to place all eight pups.”
Volunteers are a crucial part of the puppy breeding scheme and anyone interested in taking part should call 0114 296 4941.