Derbyshire's first fully licensed Tactical Firearms Dogs
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Recently, PD Zane, Bodie and Nova, along with their handler's PC Molloy, PC Houareau and Sgt Parkin, undertook a three-week Tactical Firearms Dog Course, with trainer PC Allen and firearm instructors.
The Firearms Support Dogs will be a valuable tool in assisting Firearms teams, by giving them a tactical advantage when dealing with incidents within Derbyshire that requires their specialist skills.
These are the first dogs in Derbyshire to undertake this specific training course and have had classroom inputs on firearms tactics, communications, weapon capabilities and positioning, prior to undergoing more physical tasks.
Now licensed, the teams will have to complete a further five days training per year, over and above their usual quota for the General Purpose role they also do. In addition, they will have to undergo an annual re-licence to be able to continue to work within this specialised area.
The dog teams are selected based on their suitability for the role on a number of criteria, requiring them to have a steady character and willingness to work safely in close proximity to the firearms officers, during what is likely to be a highly charged, dangerous and stressful incident.
The most common use for the dogs will be to assist with both the ‘Emergency’ and ‘Deliberate‘ building search tactics that they employ. The dogs can be sent in under complete verbal control of the handler to give the teams an early indication of the whereabouts of any persons of interest in the building, so our officers don’t have to put themselves in unnecessary danger. On locating those persons, the dogs will guard them until such a time that the Firearms Team is happy to take over in dealing with the suspect(s) or can be called back out of the building to the handlers. Whichever tactic is used, the dogs return to the handler and are readied in case of any acts of aggression or attempts to flee by the person(s).
Various other exercises were incorporated in this robust three-week training course, incorporating exercises such as sentry duty, which gives the firearms teams pre-cleared safe places, so that they are able to work towards the dog in the knowledge that the dog will indicate, and if necessary, deal with any threat that occurs beyond them.
Other exercises included open country searching, tracking and there will be a potential for vehicle tactic training in the future.
It was great operational team work, between the dog section, the firearms unit and utilising the drone team to assess the team's formations.
Well done to the three dogs and their handlers on gaining your license.