Today, (1 August 2016) marks the launch of the new police dog service across North Yorkshire Police, Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary.
Although Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary had already been sharing a dog unit, in October last year the Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables of the three Forces decided on a three-way merger.
This gives all three Forces access to a larger pool of police dogs on each shift, and greater access to specialist police dogs – for example passive drugs dogs, which are typically used in town and city centres to identify people carrying drugs.
The new service will also increase police dog coverage in rural areas.
The combined dog section is part of the Evolve Programme, a three-Force initiative to look at how the police can improve services and save money by collaborating across organisational and geographical borders.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “The launch of the joint dog section today is good news for the people of Cleveland, North Yorkshire and Durham and it means significant savings for the public.
Police dogs and their handlers will remain in Cleveland but will be more widely available across all three force areas, creating a stronger and more resilient service for our communities.”
Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Iain Spittal, said: “The collaboration of the Dog Support Unit means that we are able to strengthen our resources in these challenging times and provide a more resilient service to our communities, with greater flexibility of our officers and specialist dogs available for deployment.
Our police dogs will now be trained in the same way and will adopt the same operating tactics, meaning that across the three policing areas we can work more effectively together.”