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Posted: 9th July 2024

Police force joins dog welfare scheme
“Our police dogs put their trust in us to look after them” – Catherine Roper.
Trained volunteers will check on police dog welfare.

Wiltshire Police has become the latest police force in the UK to join the Animal Welfare Independent Visitors Scheme.

Supported by the charity Dogs Trust, the scheme sees volunteers visit to check on the welfare of police dogs in vehicles, kennels, and training areas.

The checks ensure that the dogs have a safe, clean and enriching environment and that standards meet the requirements set out in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The volunteers who will carry out the checks in Wiltshire have been appointed and trained over the past three months.

The scheme was set up following a review by the National Police Chiefs' Council into the death of police dog Acer during a training session
in 1997. It initially launched in 2002.

After being piloted by Lancashire Police, the scheme has expanded as more forces across the country have signed up.

Chief constable Catherine Roper said, “I very much welcome the visit to our Dog Section by the Dogs Trust today, alongside the wider launch of the Animal Welfare Scheme. This scheme is imperative to ensuring that our police dogs are cared for and trained to the very highest of standards – something we take incredibly seriously.

“Our Dog Section is a huge asset to Wiltshire Police – they are an integral part of our force. Our police dogs put their trust in us to look after them and in turn, they carry out incredibly important work such as finding missing or wanted people and discovery of items such as drugs, cash or firearms.

"In addition, they are often the first in to unknown, challenging or potentially dangerous situations. They are unsung heroes of our force and they play a huge role in keeping Wiltshire safe.”

Image © Shutterstock

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