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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 April, 2005, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Force appeals for canine recruits
Labrador dog, BBC
Labradors are among the breeds sought by police
A police force has launched an appeal for new recruits to be trained up as sniffer dogs.

South Wales Police have a shortage of canine recruits, and have appealed for members of the public to put forward their pets for training.

The force wants spaniels, Labradors or any other type of gun dog breed, aged between 10 and 36-months-old.

Sergeant Jim Gall, head of training at the police dog school in Bridgend, said more playful dogs were ideal.

He said: "We are looking for dogs that are super-keen to play with a toy or ball.

'Channel desire'

"All our training is reward-based, so, the keener a dog is to play, the more it enjoys its work.

"If we've got a dog that's keen to play then we can channel that desire to play down the roads we wish to go and train them to be search dogs."

Mr Gall added that even disobedient dogs could be trained to fit in with the demands of police work.

He said: "If they are a bit disobedient, that wouldn't be a problem.

Spaniels make good sniffer dogs for police forces

"There's a difference between a dog who'll play for a couple of minutes with a ball and then fancy doing something else and wander off.

"We need the ones that'll come back again and again and again and want to do nothing else."

The south Wales force usually has a steady supply of gun dogs - which include Labradors, Irish setters, springer spaniels and pointers - but has suffered a recent shortage.

Mr Gall added: "In the past we've been fairly well off in offers of gun dogs.

"But as happens from time to time the supply has dried up a little, hence our request for dogs to come in to be assessed as future police dogs.

"They don't all make it unfortunately. But we have a lesser rejection rate with the gun dogs than we do with some of the other bigger breeds.

"There are those who the police life is not for them - we give it our very best shot, but if the dog isn't going to be suitable, we return him to his original mum and dad."

Anyone wishing to offer their dog to South Wales Police, or wanting further information can contact Sergeant Gall on 01656 869341.

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