Express & Star

West Midlands Police dog training centre opens its doors

A dog training centre for West Midlands Police has opened showcasing the great work that is carried out by their dogs, their handlers and volunteers.

West Midlands Police dog

The West Midlands Police (WMP) Dog Training Centre at Balsall Common opened its doors today.

The first police dog in the West Midlands was PD Don. He worked with Walsall Borough Police in 1939. In 1951, Birmingham got its own police dog, PD Flash and Coventry soon followed suit.

The RSPCA and The Kennel Club both said in reports following a recent visit that WMP “exceeded their expectations”.

WMP are one of five police forces that breed their own dogs and supply dogs to other police forces and agencies, including the National Crime Agency, Ministry of Justice and the Metropolitan Police Service.

PC Dunlavey from the Metropolitan Police, said: “I was allocated PD Atom when he arrived from West Midlands Police in 2022 and we licensed together the year after. We competed in our base trials and proudly came first, qualifying for and competing in the National Police Dog Trials in Nottinghamshire.

PC Dunlavey and PD Atom from Met Police

“In the time we have worked together, PD Atom has located and assisted in detaining a number of suspects, along with finding vital evidence such as knives, drugs and suspects. PD Atom is extremely enjoyable to work and I am privileged to be his handler.”

WMP are also a national accredited training centre and train instructors from across the country to deliver dog training in searches, including drugs, digital media, firearms, explosives and even cash.

Over the last 12 months their dogs have been involved in 545 arrests and attended 6,400 incidents to protect the public. As well as this, their team of four dangerous dog handlers have attended more than 800 incidents involving an out of control dog between April 1 and July 31, and seized 96 suspected dangerous dogs.

WMP has a range of volunteers from retirees, to young families, NHS workers and police officers including PC Loi, who volunteered his spare time to puppy walk PD Dredd who he now handles.

Inspector Leanne Chapman from the Dog Unit, said: “Our breed scheme and dog training centre is one of the best in the country and we are constantly striving to improve our service. Our aim for the next 12 months, is to be a national standard of excellence.

“So much goes into our dogs and the unit itself. Our police officers, staff and partners are passionate about dogs. They often given up their spare time to help train and care for our puppies and dogs. It’s hard work but as you can imagine, very rewarding.

“Our volunteers are crucial to the breed scheme and puppy development programme and we are so thankful to them. Some of our volunteers have been giving up their time and homes for more than 20 years which is a testament to them and our dog unit.

“Police dogs are integral to the work we do in protecting the public and fighting crime. We couldn’t do this job without our four-legged heroes.”