There are more than 60 police dogs sniffing out crime,
tracking missing people and enforcing public order on the
streets of Essex.
The Essex Police Dog
Unit, based at Sandon near Chelmsford, provides countywide
support to specialist operations and supports officers in their day
to day efforts to keep crime down.
Formed in 1953, the unit started with just two handlers and
two dogs, a Doberman called Remoh and a German Shepherd named
As dogs proved more and more effective in supporting traditional
policing, the section grew, eventually training dogs to track
ground disturbance and scent and detain criminals.
Essex Police now has 39 general purpose police dogs, most of
which are German Shepherds.
All general purpose police dogs are put through their paces with 13
weeks of intensive training at Sandon before hitting the streets
with their handler. You can see Gunner, a pedigree German Shepherd,
in training in our series of films listed in the useful links box
on the right hand side of this page.
All dogs are put to the test by an independent examiner and will be
expected to help find missing people, enforce public order and
track scent to locate hiding criminals once they've made the
Essex Police also has 12 drugs and weapon recovery dogs which are
all of the Springer breed. Springer Spaniels make great search dogs
because of their tireless nature and small size, a definite
advantage when searching houses and cars.
Drugs and weapon recovery dogs are trained to search for
and alert to their handlers a range of illegal drugs, weapons and
their component parts.
There are also six explosive search Labradors that
sniff out explosive devices. They are now working towards the
Olympics and regularly search areas before dignitaries and VIPs
arrive in the county.