POLICE dogs are being trained at a builders' yard in Cheltenham.
Bence Builders' Merchants in Fairview Road has offered its yard to Gloucestershire Constabulary's dog handlers. They recently launched an appeal for a new venue where they could train their pooches to track people down.
They will be using the open outside space, and the buildings on site too.
Dog Handler PC Claire Todd said it was important that the dogs did not get restricted to just one training ground. "We are very grateful to George Bence Builders for coming forward to help us with our training," she said.
"The more buildings we have to use as training venues the better. We need to keep the dogs prepared for any eventuality or scene they might get called to, and a variety of places also means the dogs don't get used to searching the same places all the time."
Paul Johnson, yard manager at George Bence's, said: "We are really pleased to be involved and we are happy to help. The place is ideal for them, and it helps us too as it acts as a deterrent – if people see 'police dogs training' signs, they'll run a mile!"
Supported by 17 police dog handlers, the constabulary has a total of 19 dogs, a mixture of German Shepherds and spaniels, trained and prepared to assist police officers in a whole variety of possible scenarios.
They are trained to search for people, drugs, cash, firearms and explosives.
They search property, track down offenders who might have left the scene of a crime, can disarm a criminal carrying a weapon, and are trained in crowd control.