- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
The forensic marking product company Selectamark can now offer a second SelectaDNA search dog. Joining Jazz, a detection dog trained to sniff out SelectaDNA forensic markers, is a three-year old black Labrador called Ronnie. Like Jazz, Ronnie’s trainer was specialist dog trainer Mick Swindells of Search Dogs UK, who has had Ronnie since he was six months. Mick said: “I saw the potential in Ronnie to become a search dog from a young age and so I kept him for further training. In 2014, Ronnie took part in a successful research project to determine whether or not melanomas (skin cancer) have a unique scent. Ronnie was then trained as a human remains detection dog, which is something he still does.”
Earlier this year Ronnie took part in a BBC documentary called The Boy Who Disappeared, about a 16-year-old who went missing more than 20 years ago. In August, he travelled to Russia with Mick in an attempt to locate the body of Tsar Nicholas II’s younger brother Mikhail, murdered by the Bolshoviks in 1918.
In September, Mick decided to dual train Ronnie as a SelectaDNA forensic marker detection dog to complement Jazz. Selectamark produces the SelectaDNA product, which can be applied to items of value, which helps police identify stolen items and offenders if they are found.
Mick said: “Jazz is now six years old and we wanted to be able to work the two dogs in tandem whilst we could. Ronnie’s nasal capability is every bit as good as Jazz’s and we are sure he will prove an invaluable addition to the team.”
The dogs operate differently from humans. “We can only search in 2D, ie in the line of sight, but dogs can search in 3D by using their noses. Jazz and Ronnie are able to touch marked items with their noses identifying the target scent of SelectaDNA, allowing officers to move in at this point and make further investigations.”
Jazz has already worked with Merseyside Police to catch criminals at ports, and with Lancashire Police on Operation Tornado against metal thieves. She worked alongside officers from Cheshire Police as part of Operation Shield, searching pawn shops for stolen items marked with DNA such as electrical goods and jewellery.
She was also used as part of the Met Police’s Operation Ferrous, where she helped search vehicles that had been stopped under suspicion of carrying metal or other stolen goods. Arrests were made and vehicles seized.
Mick added: “When we first chose Jazz as a search dog we never envisaged the type of work she would be asked to perform. Whilst she has a tremendous nose, and can find minute traces of scent in large areas she can be timid when around people. Ronnie, on the other hand, is a bolder dog and is already showing great promise in searching people. He is already locating all types of SelectaDNA products in operational training scenarios.”
James Brown, MD of Selectamark, added: “Using a trained dog like Jazz or Ronnie to sniff out property or criminals marked with SelectaDNA is surely the ultimate search tool for police and any other investigators determined to catch thieves and other criminals.”
Jazz and Ronnie are available to assist police in a variety of operations, singly or as a pair. Contact [email protected]