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Guard of the four-legged variety

In the age of technology is there any other way than the hi-tech way? With so many technological solutions available on the market providing optimum security do we have the ultimate fail safe? Are there really any scenarios that cannot be secured by technology? So asks Samantha Ingham, Business Development Manager of K9 Patrol Ltd based in Knaresborough, Yorkshire.

Even with the best electronic solutions in place such as the newest CCTV and most intelligent alarm systems, sometimes the need for alternative or additional security options is still an absolute must.

In certain situations the most effective, and in some cases the only suitable option, is that of a human being. Referred to as Security, Manned and or Static Guards the role of the humble guard may work in isolation of, or with, technology thus providing a more effective and all round solution.

Having said that even with the training, skills and equipment, a security guard may still not be sufficient enough to provide the level of security required in certain scenarios. However, add in a guard of the four-legged variety and you add in a whole new level of skills and capabilities. Of course I’m referring to canines.

Not only does a dog act as an extremely high visual deterrent, but it’s highly trained senses are capable of raising an alarm much sooner than a human or electronic solution may be able to. But also the skills they possess to track and detain suspects/intruders whilst covering large ground mean convictions are much more likely when security is breached.

On a recent alarm response, our mobile dog unit arrived at a five-storey unoccupied factory. On entry the dog tracked the scent, leading the dog handler to two intruders helping themselves to some cables, upon which they were detained until the police arrived. The intruders were arrested and currently await conviction. From entry to the large building, the intruders were located within just six minutes. Would the same speedy result have been achieved if a response team without a dog unit had been deployed? Most probably not!! If a static guard had arrived on his/her own the intruders would most likely have tried to flee. However when a dog is present, this is much less likely.

Dogs can be trained for different activities based on the individual assignments, but in the main Security Dogs also known as General Purpose Dogs are trained in article tracking, building searches, handler protection and find and locate. There’s a whole host of specialist training available for dogs including Personal Protection, Rescue, Tobacco, Firearms, Cash, Illegal Immigrants and Cadaver Dogs. But more commonly sought for in our business are the Drug Detection and Explosive Detection Dogs.

We have seen the recent demand for Drug Detection Dogs increase. Most people associate their use in Airports and Shipping/Ferry Ports, but their skills are being deployed in many other situations where illegal drug use can be a problem. Such as popular licenced chains and independent pubs and clubs. The dogs are being brought in by the licensees themselves and or by the police where individual police forces don’t have access to their own dog units. The use of drug dogs is also becoming a more popular choice for certain industries such as food manufacturing. The purpose of which is to search employees on arrival to work. These operations are being conducted randomly but certainly send out the desired message to employees!

Then there’s the Explo Dogs. Be it the Threat of Terror, or Flare Smuggling into Football Stadiums, Explo dogs are trained specifically on the substances that make up the composition of explosives. These dogs are deployed at various events, from sporting to VIP, as well as locations attended by royalty and politicians.

Combine technology, guards/handlers and dogs and you have in my opinion the ultimate end to end security solution. Many of our clients have used various options and having now used dogs wouldn’t risk not having dogs on site. They have seen first-hand and understand just how valuable and yet cost effective they are. Seeing what a ‘dog at work’ can achieve is pretty amazing, especially given the minimal difference in cost on a like for like basis i.e. static guard versus dog handler and dog.

Would I need dogs for my security?

General Purpose Dogs can be used in a range of situations but they are most effective in the following:

Construction, Transport, Utility Sectors, Food Manufacturing, Events, Unoccupied
Properties, Alarm Responses and Mobile Patrols

When choosing a security company who provide dogs, what should I look for?

Please don’t just hire a man with a mean looking pet dog. Make sure the company you use has the right licences and qualifications in place ensuring the handlers and dogs undergo continual training. Don’t just look for logos on websites; ask for copies of certificate/membership details. Also ensure the company has the right insurances in place. Don’t be afraid to ask a company for a demonstration. Good canine security companies will be more than willing to do this.

There are a number of accreditations and affiliations, but here’s some of the biggest:

NASDU – National Association of Security Dog Users)
BPSCA – British Police and Services Canine Association)
BIPDT – British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers.

If canine security isn’t something you’ve ever considered, it’s definitely worth looking into. The natural instincts and abilities of a canine, in conjunction with the skills of a human and the capabilities of technological equipment provide the ultimate end to end security solution.



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