Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Police appeal for canine recruits

Fizz the police dog with her handler
Once trained the dogs can assist in finding offenders and missing persons

A Scottish police force has made an urgent appeal for new recruits, but with a difference.

Strathclyde Police is seeking "specialist officers" of the furry, four-legged variety who can help sniff out offenders and missing persons.

The force's dog branch is looking for young German Shepherds and has appealed to the public to donate their pets.

Dogs offered will undergo a series of tests to find out if they have an aptitude for police work.

Standards are high with, on average, only one dog accepted for every 15 offered to the force.

To qualify, dogs must be between ten months and three years old and be fit and healthy. It helps if they have a bold and outgoing personality and are playful by nature.

Sniff out

Sergeant Tracy Reid, from Strathclyde Police's dog branch, said: "A police dog can sniff out a well-concealed offender or locate a missing person in a fraction of the time it would take for officers to find them, making them an essential part of every day policing.

"German Shepherds are working dogs and have a lot of energy, so a dog that might seem like a handful at home may make an excellent police dog."

If unsuccessful, dogs can be returned to their owners or re-homed.

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