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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 December 2005, 13:35 GMT
Dog cameras to combat gun crime
Dog fitted with miniature camera
Dogs fitted with the cameras help during gun sieges
Police have collared the latest in technology by kitting out their firearms dogs with cameras.

New recruits to the Northumbria Police force are German shepherds Sammy, five, and three-year-old Zara.

They have been trained to help during armed sieges and wear miniature television cameras with transmitters fitted to their heads or harnesses.

It means they can search buildings and relay the information back to officers.

The Fido camera system also has infra-red lights, which means pictures can be provided in darkness.

Pictures are seen on a receiver unit carried by the dog handler who can watch the progress of the four-legged recruits searching for armed suspects.

Zara and Sammy have also been trained to leave a mobile phone at the front door of under-siege premises so officers can negotiate with suspects.

Advanced searching

They were picked out an early age for the role and have undergone rigorous training.

PC Jim Soutar, who has responsibility for the force's firearms dogs, said: "I'm constantly looking at general purpose dogs throughout the force and if I think they have got potential I will give them a development programme.

"We're looking for dogs with above average drive who can operate under stressful conditions."

The dogs' skills include the ability to perform advanced searching without being distracted.

They are controlled through hand gestures or, if they are out of sight, through voice alone.




SEE ALSO:
Police aim to recruit canine aid
18 Dec 04 |  Nottinghamshire


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