The West Yorkshire Police Dog Section is based at our Operations Headquarters at Wakefield. The department has 32 members of staff broken down into training staff, operational dog handlers, kennel staff and a small team that deal with Dangerous and Anti- Social dog issues. Our facilities include training areas and kennels. Our four legged colleagues are split between General Purpose Dogs and Specialist Support. General Purpose dogs are typically German Shepherds and Mallinios and they are trained to perform a multitude of tasks which includes tracking, searching for persons and property and criminal work. Our specialist dogs are either Spaniels or Labradors and these are trained to find explosives, money, drugs and firearms.
All our dogs are trained using a system of ‘praise and reward’, which not only brings out the natural abilities of the dog but also increases the bond between dog and handler. All the dogs are subject to an annual licensing process with their handlers and when not working live at home with the handlers and their families.
Historically we bred from our own puppy scheme however we now source dogs from a variety of breeders, charities and we still accept gift dogs from members of the public. Basic training begins when they are between 12 - 18 months old, and in order to be considered, the dogs must be social, have high drive, and want to play with a ball or similar object. The typical working life of a General Purpose dog is between 7-9 years and specialist dogs 10-12 years. Virtually all dogs go to live with their handlers when they retire from service.
Page last reviewed January 2020