Two very special dogs and their handlers passed their training last week and are now ready to share their expertise with other forces across the country.
Police Dogs Rosie and April join PD Sybil as the three dogs in the UK who are trained to detect seminal fluid only, which will help put more offenders behind bars.
It’s all part of a highly successful forensic search dog project pioneered by Derbyshire Constabulary. The skill of the dogs and their handlers is of vital importance during sexual offence investigations, in scenes where traditional methods wouldn’t work.
Rosie, April and Sybil can pinpoint tiny amounts of seminal fluid without being distracted by other scents. Their noses are so sharp they can detect as little as 0.016ml, sometimes years after it has been deposited.
Rosie, a black Labrador and white Labrador April are both just 15 months old and have spent the last six weeks going through the rigorous training programme. The training, developed by Derbyshire’s Dog Section and Crime Scene Investigators (CSI), has changed the way in which sexual offences are investigated.
Since 2016, Sybil and her colleague now-retired PD Billie, have helped put serious offenders behind bars up and down the country. Now Rosie, based at Derbyshire and April, from the Cheshire/North Wales Alliance have been welcomed to the team.
PC Dean Allen, who led the training said “It’s fantastic to welcome Rosie and April to the team. Their training as seminal fluid dogs has been extremely thorough to test and prove their ability so they can best assist CSI.
“In the last six weeks they’ve learnt to identify and search for that scent in numerous scenarios that we’ve set up for them: indoors, outdoors, in vehicles, on grass, tarmac and materials such as bedding and clothing.
“The result is we can catch sexual offenders that we may not have been able to otherwise due to the very difficult nature of some sexual offence scenes.
“The dogs can indicate the presence of seminal fluid in places traditional kits can’t detect it, and once they’ve identified the scent – that piece of material or vegetation can be sent away and the extracted DNA profiled, leading to more prosecutions and offenders behind bars."
Forces across the country can now request to use the dogs, and there is no specified forensic time window for them to attend a crime scene, however contact should be made at the earliest opportunity.
Derbyshire Constabulary would also like to thank Derby University for access to their facilities to set up scenes as part of the training process.