by Graham Pierrepoint
While sniffer dogs have been used for some time to help trace a number of different criminals and law absconders, the latest in a long line of canine crime-fighting developments has seen our furry friends take on a whole new level of law enforcement and investigation. While it has been part of US policing in some states for a while now, the UK has this week ushered in their first-ever digital contraband sniffer dogs – canines who have been thoroughly trained to find hidden devices, drives and USB keys that may be concealed by suspects of a given offence.
This means that dogs in the UK are now to be actively used as part of ‘digital detection’ – and that police in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, UK, will now be actively using them to help suss out and bring a different kind of criminal to justice. This means that crafty canines with trained sniffers will soon be able to find hidden devices and drives put aside by suspected terrorists, pedophiles and scammers – meaning that anyone hoping to hide even the smallest SD card or USB drive will soon find themselves out of a lucky escape – as British police intend to use these pups in pursuit of hidden media.
Two such dogs have been trained and assessed by FBI personnel, with the go-ahead granted to allow them to start sniffing out data on a trial basis. It’s thought that the two will be allowed access to various scenes in the coming months and years and that a larger scheme may be rolled out if they continue to prove to be such a success away from the training school. It’s not the first time that the UK has experienced digital dogs on the force – they’ve been put to marvellous use elsewhere before – but this is the first time that fully-fledged fidos will be introduced into a UK constabulary as part of the main squad.
It’s a scheme which has worked marvellously in the US previously, and will also mean that the UK has further access to bringing certain types of criminal to justice. When crime online is as rife as it currently is – and with the UK terror level remaining as ‘Severe’ following the recent bomb attack on the London Underground, hunting down those using the internet to facilitate crime has never been more essential.