Whatever you think about polices forces and wherever you are from the US, the UK or from anywhere else, no one can deny the need for police force explosive dog teams. And South Wales Police’s bomb dogs are in demand now more than ever before.
In fact, that demand has literally doubled in the last 2 years. The South Wales Police team had to attend 374 events in 2017, but only 186 in 2015.
And it isn’t just the scale of the work that has increased – it’s the nature of it as well. While before police forces had to look out for fights and hooligans during football matches, today they need to look out for bombs and terrorist attacks. While before they had to protect the celebrities at big events, now they have to protect everyone.
That rise in demand is clearly shown by the UK terror threat level as it stands at “severe”. Following attacks in London and Manchester, that’s understandable.
Sgt Ian Roderick is the lead dog trainer for South Wales Police and he puts it like this:
“We are much more in demand now and as terrorist capabilities expand, so does our response to it.
“We are constantly evolving what we do. The Parsons Green terror attack showed that terrorists are constantly looking at means of getting past our capabilities. We’ve got to keep moving beyond that.”
He also said: “Policing a sporting event was about preventing disorder, but now it’s about being vigilant about an attack.
“Before, it used to be about protecting a person [such as royalty attending an event], now it’s about making an event safe for everyone.”
All this means that the dogs will have to up their skill- level as well.
With terrorists becoming more and more ingenious and using new methods and substances, police bomb squad dogs need to keep up too.
Sgt Roderick said: “We train them on a set of explosives at present, but as terrorism evolves then new substances may become more prevalent in their use, we’ll have to get access to them via the government so we can train on them, and likewise with drugs.
“We haven’t reached the capacity of what a dog’s capable of yet by any means, and even though we introduce new substances to them, it’s not like they forget another one – they’re not forgetting number one to remember number 13.”