The first detection dog in the world to be trained to sniff out forensic markings on stolen metal is set to help police officers crack down on metal theft in the UK.
Instead of locating drugs or human remains, a two-year old black Labrador called Jazz has been trained by former police officer and Home Office Police Dog Instructor Mick Swindells to locate SelectaDNA forensic markings on a range of metals including copper, lead and aluminium.
Metal theft costs the UK economy approximately GBP $770M (USD $1,224,295,430B) a year and there are about 1,000 incidents reported each week.
SelectaDNA is being used in many police-backed crime reduction initiatives across the UK and by companies such as Network Rail to protect copper cable from metal theft.
Mick Swindells started Search Dogs UK after retiring as a police officer for Lancashire Constabulary. He has trained dogs for a variety of purposes including drugs detection, tracking and trailing, and disaster recovery.
Complimenting existing police search procedures, Jazz is able to sniff for stolen metal in places like scrap yards, where metal is often piled high and any containing forensic markings not immediately visible to the human eye.
Jazz was originally a gundog at a farm near Blackpool in northwest England and it took Mick just two months to train her for her new role.
“Jazz is a world-first. She has been trained to sniff out SelectaDNA, which is a unique covert security marker being used by more than three quarters of UK Police forces to track down burglars, robbers and metal thieves and bring them to justice,” Swindells said.
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