Chief Constable expresses concern over decision to merge police dog units
MEMBERS of Cambridgeshire Police Authority met for the final time on Monday, before the county’s first police and crime commissioner is elected next month.
One of the final decisions left for authority to approve were plans to merge Cambridgeshire police dog unit with those in neighbouring forces Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.
While the authorities in those two counties have given the green light to a full merger, which would see the number of dogs radically reduced, Cambridgeshire’s Chief Constable Simon Parr expressed concern and urged members here to act cautiously.
He said: “This plan has already gone through in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire but we have taken a long look at them over the summer and decided that, in their current form, they weren’t right for Cambridgeshire. I thought it was too big a leap, too soon.”
He said he wasn’t convinced that out sourcing the work of specialist dogs, which can help police officers find drugs and bombs, would work.
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The original plan, to reduce the number of working dogs across the three counties from 71 to 41, were shelved and instead members agreed to merge the “general purpose” dog units but keep the county’s contingent of six specialist sniffer dogs and four dogs which search for explosives.
Mr Parr said he would only consider out sourcing the work of the specialist dogs if it could be proved to him that it was “legal” and that the public supported the move. He would also be looking to other forces to see if similar projects had proved successful.
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He added: “We have to got to make some difficult decisions because we can’t do everything.”