Buddy the ‘passive’ drug-detecting dog to help police in St Albans

Police dog Buddy

Police dog Buddy - Credit: Photo supplied

A new crime-busting tool is available to support police in St Albans – but despite being named Buddy, he definitely will not be a friend of those dealing in drugs.

The difference between Buddy, a 14-month-old Labrador, and his counterparts in the Beds, Cambs and Herts dog unit is that he is a ‘passive’ drug detection dog.

Originally destined for a career with a police department in Hong Kong, Buddy was deemed unsuitable for their team, so was bought by the local unit with this passive role in mind. A spokesman for Herts Police explained that while normally dogs in the unit attend raids and actively seek out drugs, Buddy just sits quietly near his handler, until he senses drugs nearby.

He added: “Buddy is our first ever passive drug detection dog. He will not move until he smells the presence of drugs, so he will be taken to places such as train stations.”

Initially the training, in Herts, involved Buddy being able to identify various types of controlled substances when placed at the feet of a volunteer.

As the course progressed, substances were hidden in more difficult places for Buddy to detect.

Now the course has ended, he is able to detect traces of controlled drugs on people, even as they rush by.

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His super-tuned sense of smell will be used at various locations including sporting events and music festivals across the three counties.

Sergeant Matt Spinks from the dog unit said that Buddy and his handler will “see the three forces armed with a new tool in the fight against the illegal use of drugs and the anti-social behaviour associated with it.”