New police dog training facility at Herts police HQ is 'the best in the country'

PUBLISHED: 18:50 29 July 2019

The new flood-lit training facility was officially opened on Friday. Picture: Matt Powell

The new flood-lit training facility was officially opened on Friday. Picture: Matt Powell

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A new outdoor police dog training facility opened by Herts police on Friday has been described as "the best in the country".

The new training facility. Picture: Matt PowellThe new training facility. Picture: Matt Powell

The facility will provide a unique and safe training environment for canine units from across Beds, Cambs and Herts.

The £12,000 flood-lit facility has been built in the old outdoor firing range at Hertfordshire Constabulary's HQ in Welwyn Garden City.

It is designed to replicate scenarios the dogs may encounter, such as metal-grated stairs, a tunnel and a number of fences at different heights.

Three police dogs showed off the uses of the site at the opening - 12-month-old spaniel Wills, Obi (short for Obi-Wan Kenobi), a 12-month-old German shepherd and Bran, a Dutch herder cross German shepherd.

Smiling for the camera. Picture: Matt PowellSmiling for the camera. Picture: Matt Powell

Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: "It's the best in the country and it's been introduced to make sure the dogs are being worked to their maximum and learn how to go through some farly difficult terrain, up and down ladders and through holes.

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"But they really enjoy it, it's really good - it's another example of how we take dog welfare very seriously."

The facility has been funded by proceeds of crime money - which includes money found by sniffer dogs like Wills.

Police dog instructor Andy Brigland and Obi. Picture: Matt PowellPolice dog instructor Andy Brigland and Obi. Picture: Matt Powell

Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: "This is a fantastic bit of kit, only the second of its kind in the country. This is going to make a huge impact to the dog section.

"We all know how important police dogs are to us. Clearly what this enables to do is to train them more effectively, improve their skills, be that new, young dogs or more experienced dogs. It more closely replicates the environments they're going to find when they're out there operationally.

"The better we can get them used to what they might come across in the community, the better they will perform operationally."

PC Jim Hoare, who trains police dogs, said: "It allows us to train in a safe environment with exposures they may find in the streets - traditional fence panels, rubber-screen curtains they can jump through, chain link fly-screens, tunnels and manhole covers. We can also do search practice round here, by hiding people in various areas.

Trying to sit still for a photo. Picture: Matt PowellTrying to sit still for a photo. Picture: Matt Powell

"It's a legacy project. We've put it in this environment so it lasts and it will help dogs of the future as we move forward to grow the department and support the public of BCH."

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