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Jane Kennedy visits Force horse and dog sections

Liverpool / November 06

Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy took time to visit the horses and dogs that help the Force fight crime.

Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy took time to visit the horses and dogs that help the Force fight crime.

The Commissioner visited the Force’s Mounted and Dog sections, based at Mather Avenue police station, last week to see first-hand the vital role the animals play in maintaining public order and tackling crime.

Merseyside Police’s Mounted Section comprises of 16 highly trained horses, 14 constables, two sergeants and an inspector. To assist the officers there are also six civilian support staff and a stable manager, who help to care for the animals and maintain the stable yard.

The animals are used to police large-scale public order events, such as the Liverpool International Music Festival, football matches at Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere FC, Rugby matches at St Helens, organised marches and spontaneous or planned protests and in civil disorder situations such as those experienced across the country in 2011. During her visit, the Commissioner saw for herself how the animals would be equipped in a riot situation.

The Commissioner also visited the Dogs Section, where German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Labradors, Spring and Cocker Spaniels and cross-breed dogs are trained to detect explosives, cash drugs or firearms.

Not only did she meet the latest intake of animals, officers also demonstrated how the animals would be used to sniff out drugs and bring down a suspected offender.

A ‘General Purpose’ dog undertakes a 13-week course to get to a licensed standard, but it carries on learning whilst on operational duties for a couple of years afterwards. Training for a ‘Specialist Search’ dog takes between six and eight weeks depending on the skill they are learning, including illicit drug searches, explosive device searches or crime scene searches.

Jane Kennedy said: “These animals do a fantastic job for Merseyside Police. They are trained to an incredibly high standard and the roles they perform are very important in both maintaining order and tackling criminals.”

“In a large-scale public incident a horse can have the same impact as 12 officers. Not only that, but these animals are a fantastic tool for engaging with the public."