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EDITIONS
 Monday, 27 January, 2003, 16:48 GMT
Students face drug dog check
Trigger the sniffer dog
Sniffer dog Trigger gets to work at the school
Sniffer dogs will randomly search pupils at a West Midlands school.

Staff at Heart of England School in Balsall Common, near Solihull, said the scheme would send out a clear message to students that drugs will not be tolerated.

Dog handlers from security firm Grosvenor International Services (GIS) will make several unannounced visits to the school.

GIS works with 14 UK police forces supporting anti-drugs operations and also works with the licensed trade in tackling drug abuse.

Safe environment

School head teacher Annette Croft said the scheme was a response to the Home Office's wish to improve drug education programmes in schools.

"This is not in response to any particular incident," she said.

"But we intend to send a clear message that drugs will not be tolerated at our school and this is part of our commitment to ensure we maintain a safe environment for our young people."

She added: "Searches of the buildings and screening of people will assist in maintaining a high-profile level of awareness with the purpose of ensuring a 'clean bill of health'."

Pupils at the school welcomed the scheme because it warned them of the dangers of drugs.

The dogs may help someone accept that they have a problem

Pupil Oliver Mumby

Victoria Shrewsbury said: "I think it is a good idea as it will stop you when you are older taking drugs."

The 13-year-old said the dogs had visited the school during assemblies and students were completely at ease with their spot-checks.

"One dog was very excited by the contents of one teacher's trousers but they found he only had a marker pen in his pocket," she said.

Oliver Mumby, also 13, added: "The dogs may help someone accept that they have a problem.

"They may also confide with a counsellor at the school rather than talk to a policeman."

John Franklin-Webb, principal director of GIS, said: "This new initiative is a prime example of supporting the government's commitment in taking a pro-active stance on an issue that is clearly not going to go away."


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15 Jan 03 | England
24 Dec 02 | Education
30 Jul 02 | Education
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