Meet the GDP’s police dogs
Gibraltar Defence Police currently has over 10 working dogs which are based at its headquarters in Devil’s Tower Camp.
This includes three breeds of dogs – German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois, who all work as general-purpose dogs and a Springer Spaniel, known as sniffer dog, who can find illegal drugs, quantities of cash, explosives, and digital media storage devices, such as hard drives and SIM cards.
Six years ago, the kennels had a major renovation where heated floors were installed for those cold winter months and air conditioning for those warm summer days.
A one-way glass window also installed to allow the dogs to have some privacy.
There is a hatch that leads to a larger outside area so the dogs can go out and stretch their paws.
As well as changes to the inside kennels, the outside compound now consists of a separate exercise area featuring grass and play equipment such as tunnels and an agility ramp to help stimulate the dogs and encourage play.
At the back of the establishment there is a shower room, a medical room and the room that holds their food.
A former GDP Officer, Melvyn Brier, created a memorial area where he handcrafted a plaque for those Police Dogs who dedicated their working lives to the force.
Chief of Police Rob Allen said: “Police dogs are a valuable asset to operational policing and a well-loved part of the Gibraltar Defence Police family, as well as the general public.”
“Members of the public can rest assured that our four-legged constables are well-looked after in five star accommodation.”
It is common knowledge that dogs can follow a scent trail or identify a specific scent which is undetectable to humans.
That is why it is crucial that the police dogs are fully trained.
The dogs receive basic training at the Defence Animal Training Unit in Melton Mowbray, UK, and are then flown over to Gibraltar where they carry out an intensive eight-week course with their new handler and PC Mario Johnson.
Once they pass, they are recognised as a licensed police dog for a year and continue to partake in training throughout their career.