Meet Holby and Harly: The Long Paw of the Law15 November 2012 | news archive
TWO crime-fighting canines were in the classroom at Leeds City College this week developing the skills to become fully trained police dogs.
Holby and Harly, a pair of Labradors training with West Yorkshire Police, were at the Keighley Campus showing groups of Level 3 Public Services BTEC students how they help tackle drug-related crime.
And as students got to discover more about the amazing work of the police force’s four-legged friends, the dogs themselves were learning plenty too as they trained in tackling drug crime in crowded environments. PC dog handlers, Matt van Bellen and Tim Yates, were also using this experience as part of their own training.
Mark Walker, dog trainer at West Yorkshire Police, said: “Holby and Harly are both three years old and have been training for around 18 months. They are passive search dogs, which means they don’t bite or bark but just stare at the drugs when they are identified.
“These dogs work in the pubs and clubs of West Yorkshire. With the assistance the students are giving us as a training aid, we hope this will help train the dogs to search and locate drugs in large crowds of people.”
In the classroom, students volunteered to have a substance placed in their pockets or footwear by police for the dogs to try and find. Matt and Tim then brought in Holby and Harly to search for the contraband.
Upon finding the drugs, the dogs stopped, became absolutely still and stared at the student. They were then rewarded by their handlers, who threw them a tennis ball to catch.
Jodie Kay, one of the students who volunteered for the training, said: “It was fun, really interesting.”
Victoria Turner, Curriculum Leader for Sport and Public Services at the College, said: “Bringing the dogs here does help the students to gain an understanding into the role of police dog handlers and how the dogs are trained.
“Students also get the opportunity to work with the dogs handlers on assessments outside college. The first is at the train station where the dogs have to identify drugs planted on students as they walk through the turn styles. The final assessment is at a nightclub through the middle of the day in Leeds city centre where a bar scene is set out and the dogs have to identify the students with drugs planted on them. Some students are asked to try and sneak out or cause distractions to prevent the dogs from finding the drugs.”
To find out more about Public Services courses offered at Leeds City College, visit www.leedscitycollege.ac.uk.
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