Yesterday, 22 January, RCIPS K-9 officers and police dogs received official certification after having completed a three-week intensive training course focusing on general purpose and narcotics work.
While the dogs and their handlers take part in constant training as a key part of their role, achieving this certification means that their training and capabilities are now officially on par with standards in the UK and US.
The training was conducted by PC Keiron Davies, who himself recently completed a K-9 Instructor Course in Michigan, where he helped to certify officers who were pursuing their DLE certification (the US standard). He is now able to deliver the equivalent of this same training locally.
The RCIPS K-9 unit consists of four police dogs and four handlers: three general purpose dogs and one passive dog.
The three general purpose dogs, Police Dog (PD) Shadow, handled by PC Davies; PD Athena, handled by PC Laura Hicks; and PD Baron, handled by PC Margaret Baldino; are trained to track and apprehend suspects, search vehicles and premises for narcotics and firearms, search for currency, and locate items that have recently been discarded or hidden.
The passive dog, PD Inca, handled by PC Kevin Alleyne, is trained to scan people for drugs and firearms, and to search vehicles and premises. Being a passive dog means that she can more easily be used in public locations such as beaches and at public functions.
“With the completion of this training, and the addition of a passive dog and a third general purpose dog, the RCIPS K-9 Unit is now at full strength,” said Acting Superintendent Brad Ebanks, who oversees the Unit. “Because each has different advantages, having both passive and general purpose dogs gives us even more tools in our mission to enhance the safety and security of our islands.”