HM Customs police dogs "now qualified to fight against drugs"

HM Customs's dog section has been trained by a specialist instructor with over 28 years experience from the London Metropolitan Police Dog Unit over 5 days.

A statement from HM Customs said:

HM Custom’s (Gibraltar) Dog section has had an intensive training and re-licensing course carried out by a specialist instructor from the London Metropolitan Police Dog Unit.

PC Rob Pearman, a 28 Year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Dog section, has been putting both handlers and dogs through many training and operational scenarios throughout the 5 day training course. The training and assessment topics covered areas such as vessels, airport luggage areas, parcel post sorting office, house searches, vehicle searches and land frontier entry point duties. Specialist training in lowering and lifting dogs into and out of large vessels was also included.

Both handlers, Customs Officers Howick, Gonzalez and dogs, Lola & Milo, are now qualified to carry out their operational tasks in the fight against drugs and illegal cash for the next 13 months.

The Metropolitan Police Service has the largest Dog Support Unit in the UK with over 220 operational working dogs and a further 60 in training at any one time. Their work includes supporting frontline policing with General Purpose, Firearms Support, Public Order and Specialist Search capabilities. Within the specialist search discipline the Met trains dogs to find drugs, firearms, currency, explosives, human remains, blood, bones, semen and digital media. The Met also provides the Canine Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) capability on behalf of the London Fire Brigade.

Ensuring best practice and high standards are a dedicated team of 14 Instructors who work from the dedicated training centre in Keston where they also have a purpose built kennel and breeding facility. The Met’s Dog Support Unit deploys to over 50,000 calls/taskings per year and are busy round the clock 24/7.

PC Pearman said “Last week the Met dogs were involved with the many searches using Explosive dogs for President’s Trump visit to London and now I’m here training with Gibraltar Customs trying to pass on some of my knowledge. Although this Customs unit is small it has varied areas of operations which make it very exciting and challenging.”

Inspector Patrick O’Hara, Head of the Met’s Dog School said “We have been delighted to support HM Customs, Gibraltar with both dog and handler training along with a comprehensive assessment over this past week and hope to build on the new partnership in the future. I’d like to congratulate the dogs and handlers who achieved the standard set by the National Police Chief’s Council over the course of the week and look forward to reading about their successes in due course”.

HM Customs Management believe that quality high level training by experienced external specialists definitely improve and keep skills up to date. This new engagement with the Met Police will open future training opportunities and UK based courses & exchanges for HMC Dog section.

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