Officers are helping young people to sniff out the dangers of drugs – with the help of some four legged experts.
Passive drugs dogs Mia and Bobby can regularly be found visiting schools, colleges, hospitals and community events to engage with young people.
The work of the team to educate young people about the dangers of drugs and deterring them from becoming drug users in the future is being highlighted as part of the force’s Stay Safe Over Summer campaign – which is this week focused on dealing with peer pressure.
Launched at the start of the summer break in partnership with all four local authorities and Humberside Fire and Rescue service, the aim of the drive is to highlight positive activities on offer for young people across the force area and help them to avoid being hurt or exploited.
Spaniel Bobby and Mia, a black Labrador, were funded by NHS Hull CCG and completed a four week training exercise with their handlers at the police dog training complex in South Yorkshire last year.
Sergeant Ian Foster from Humberside Police Dog Section said: “Their nature makes them ideal for the education element of the passive project where they will support the delivery of messages about the effects and dangers of drugs.
“We take them into schools and give presentations aimed at 10-year-olds in primary schools and 12 to 13 year-olds in secondary schools.
“This helps not only to educate young people about the dangers of drugs before they try drugs, but also to break down barriers
“Hopefully this will deter young people from experimenting with social drugs which can escalate for harder drugs.
“Every heroin user I have spoken to has told me they started with cannabis or lighter social drugs, before they found themselves on heroin.
“If we can stop one person getting into heavier drugs we can save several times what the two dogs cost. A single hard drug user can cost society an average of £97,000.”
The talented dogs are also used to sniff out drugs in pubs, clubs and airports, picking up scents so faint they cannot be detected by humans with ease.
Using the dogs in this way provides officers with grounds on which to stop and search people they suspect of carrying drugs.
And it’s all for the love of a tennis ball.
Sgt Foster said: “It’s all a game to them. All they want is the tennis ball, but they do a vital job for us.”
Emma Latimer, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Officer said: “We recognise the need to deter people from using drugs.
“By using our resources and working with Humberside Police we can work towards becoming a drug free area and begin to ensure the next generation are prevented from becoming drug users.”
“The passive drug detection dogs provide an effective service which will be used to create a safer and healthier area, as well as offering a memorable deterrent for young people who are being educated around the use of drugs.”
Members of the public can follow Humberside Police Dog Section on twitter via @HPDogSection.