Page last updated at 07:50 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 08:50 UK

Rescue dogs recruited by police

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The force is using dogs that will not frighten the people they find

Dogs specially trained to help find missing people have been recruited by Devon and Cornwall Police.

The force said it was the first in the country to train dogs solely for use in search and rescue operations.

The three springer spaniels and one Brittany dog began work in July and have already been involved in rescues.

Inspector Andy Lilburn said the animals were ideally suited to Devon and Cornwall's rural terrain and were a "real asset" to the force.

Their only purpose is to save lives and they're already doing that
Insp Andy Lilburn, Devon and Cornwall Police

The force dog inspector said: "Our existing general purpose dogs are fantastic at what they do but vulnerable people are often scared when confronted by a German shepherd dog.

"These lost person search dogs have no other skills and are pure specialists in finding people who are lost."

The police force obtained the dogs as puppies from local breeders and trained them to recognise human scent.

They are now based with their handlers in Plymouth, Bodmin and Camborne.

The dogs have already taken part in a number of rescues, including that of a vulnerable man found in open countryside at night after he ran away from home.

"These dogs are a real asset to the force," Insp Lilburn added.

"I can't stress enough how important they are. Their only purpose is to save lives and they're already proving that."



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