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Oliver is a specially trained Justice Dog. He is with us for two weeks, working with officers and detectives as they interview victims and witnesses. He is here to provide additional support to them as they give a statement to either us, or to court.
Originally from Missouri, in the USA, the labrador retriever is the first dog in Europe to help vulnerable people within the criminal justice system.
The pilot scheme, being run by Canterbury Christchurch University and Kent Police, is researching how using a trained facility dog can provide a less traumatic experience for victims.
So far, Oliver has helped victims and witnesses in Kent, and Derbyshire is his first trip out to help show the support dogs like him can provide to vulnerable people.
His breeding and training have equipped him with the skills to provide quiet companionship and support people during their journey through the criminal justice, including the investigation and prosecution of crimes.
Derbyshire’s Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “We are very lucky to have Oliver with us for this trial. The additional support he can give to the victims and witnesses that we work with on a daily basis is amazing to see. When victims talk about their experiences in an interview situation, it can be traumatic and difficult for them to open up.
“Sometimes, however, this is the only form of evidence available to us and we need to maximise its potential.
“He is a very clever dog that can really help to put vulnerable people at ease, and making this process easier for people really is what we are trying to achieve with having him with us.”