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Northamptonshire Police’s Dog Section has seen its largest investment in recent years from the launch of its newest state-of-the-art vehicle fleet and 50 per cent increase of handler numbers.
On Thursday (March 18, 2021) the Force formally launched their new fleet of six 4x4 response vehicles, which will provide additional crime fighting capabilities by utilising the latest in vehicle technology.
The 4x4 Skoda Kodiaq 2.0s go above and beyond the section’s current vehicle capacity, enabling additional ground clearance, advanced response time and better vehicle handling.
The fleet also has the comfort of the Force’s canine colleagues in mind and are fitted with larger boot cavities for a split dog kennel, providing additional head room for the section’s current 14 operational working dogs.
The vehicle technology goes even further than previously seen by the section by benefitting from an independent air conditioning system for the split dog kennel in the rear, connected via an electronic monitoring system to the handler’s mobile phone device to notify them of the temperature within the kennel area.
However the investment into the section hasn’t stopped with vehicles. The Force’s Dog Section is set to continue to expand with two more handlers starting their training in the coming months to bring the total number of officers to 15 – the highest number the Force’s section has ever seen.
The introduction of this new fleet and expansion in officer numbers will ensure three handlers, alongside general purpose and specialist search dogs, will be on duty at any one time across the county.
Sergeant Chris Monday, of Northamptonshire Police’s Dog Section, said: “Within the first 24 hours of these vehicles being operationally deployed, we already began to see fantastic results.
“In the early hours of March 14, one of our handlers, PC Sean Foster, pursued a driver who failed to stop. After the driver stopped his vehicle and tried to run away on foot, PC Foster’s right-hand canine, PD Nala, came into her own and successfully brought the pursuit to an end.
“This result was on the very first night of our new fleet being used on operational duty, and I’m confident we will continue to see great results.”
At the launch event, Chief Constable Nick Adderley and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold also welcomed three of the Force’s newest handler and police dog recruits – PC Charlie How with PD20 Rocky, PC Steve Knight with PD18 Blue, and PC Bradley Bowman with PD17 Gru.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “I am excited for the public to see this new fleet on duty in communities across the county, working hard to fight crime and keep our towns and villages safe.
“Our handlers and police dogs put their lives on the line every day to fight crime and protect the people of Northamptonshire, and it’s only right they should be equipped with the best tools and kit available to keep up the fantastic work they do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
“This investment will see even more specialisms added to the section, which will include a greater capability to search for missing and vulnerable people, the ability to unearth crime scenes - even many months after the event – and to find concealed digital devices which have been discarded or concealed. The skills and capabilities, both across the section and Northamptonshire Police as a whole, continues to grow.
“Our Dog Section is already a force to be reckoned with, and with this increased investment I expect to see them continue to expand, progress and take their unique crime fighting capacities to an even higher level. For those individuals within this county who continue to disregard the law and engage in criminal activity – watch this space.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold set aside £750,000 in the previous year’s budget and asked the Chief Constable to invest in initiatives that would help fight crime more effectively and increase public confidence. This included investment that has doubled the size of the dog section.
Stephen said: “Northamptonshire Police dogs and their handlers have a well-deserved reputation for their proactive and effective approach to tackling crime. They also have fantastic, specialist skills that enhance the Force’s capacity to investigate crime and arrest offenders and make the county a safer place. The investment we have made in doubling the size of the team will ensure that they have much more ability to support policing operations right across the county.”