While some police forces have opted to merge to offset budget cuts, Gloucestershire – one of the UK’s oldest and smallest constabularies – remains independent, preferring strategic alliances only in specific areas.
The Dog Section is one example where Gloucestershire works in partnership with Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset Police.
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Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has called for a review to make sure the agreement works for all parties and is fair on the animals too. He said,
“It’s a positive review to see how well it’s gone and to see if it’s financially viable, which I think it is. A lot of these dogs are specialist and sometimes it’s better to share training, share the specialist dogs and sometimes you’ll need more than one.
“The Gloucestershire dogs are based here in Gloucestershire where they spend most of their time and certainly, the welfare of the dogs is paramount and we’ll be looking at that to see how well they travel. Talking to the handlers it seems okay but I want to be sure.”
Gloucestershire Police Dog Omar and his handler Debbie Shields were among the stars at Crufts where they were judged Police Dog Team of the Year after saving a man’s life in the face of extreme violence. Gloucestershire’s Chief Constable Suzette Davenport said,
“I’m really proud every day of what we do and what we contribute to the communities of Gloucestershire. I love dogs. I’m an animal lover and I love to watch and see and hear about the fantastic achievements of the dogs and their handlers on the end of them.”