New areas of specialization for police dogs: sniffing out electronics is a trial in progress
For a couple of years now, the Finnish police have been trialling the use of dogs that can sniff out body fluids in criminal investigation, and the training of semen-sniffing dogs has now become one of the official special training areas for police dogs. The next specialty that the Police Dog Training Centre will test with police dogs is sniffing out electronic devices.
The Police Dog Training Centre always studies new special training areas based on the needs of the field, that is, real-life police operations. At present, the Police Dog Training Centre is investigating whether a police dog can be trained to search for hidden phones, hard discs, memory cards and flash drives.
“Dogs specialized in searching for electronics could help the police in crime scene investigations. We have trained one dog to search for electronic devices in various environments, including apartments, vehicles and warehouses,” says Superintendent Pekka Kokkonen, Head of the Police Dog Training Centre.
“This autumn, we will continue with the training of this pioneering dog and prepare a possible test period with police units. Next year, the National Police Board will decide on the pilot use of electronics-sniffing dogs.”
Semen-sniffing dogs assist in the investigation of sexual and violent offences
The Police of Finland have trialled the use of semen-sniffing dogs in criminal investigations for a few years now, and the results have been so good that the National Police Board has approved the training of semen-sniffing dogs as a new special training area in police dog operations. The police use these specialist dogs also in Sweden and Denmark, among others.
“These dogs are significant and efficient aids in the investigation of sexual and violent offences in particular. These dogs can detect traces of semen that the police would be unable to find by any other means under field conditions. So far, semen-sniffing dogs have been used in more than 40 crime scene investigations in Finland. The Finnish police now have six semen-sniffing dogs and two new ones in training,” says Pekka Kokkonen.
The total number of police dogs in Finland is around 250. Some of these police dogs are multi-task patrol dogs, trained in obedience, use of force, tracking, crime scene search and searching for people and objects. Additionally, each dog gets a special training subject, such as searching for narcotics or explosives. Some police dogs are specialist dogs that are only used in their area of specialization, such as searching for explosives or narcotics, or aiding in fire investigations. The Police Dog Training Centre obtains and owns all police dogs in Finland.
The Police Dog Training Centre in Hämeenlinna is part of the Police University College.