A police trainee sniffer dog has been in operation at a Devon-based training centre in a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to drugs.
Skills Group, which runs apprenticeship schemes across the West Country, has invited Devon and Cornwall Police to carry out random visits as a deterrent to any drug use, and to help raise awareness of the dangers of drugs.
The initiative has a two-pronged approach: to educate and raise awareness about the health implications associated with drugs, and also the impact they can have on the working environment, through educational talks and the random visits of passive drugs dogs.
Police dog handler PC Steve Waters and his partner in crime, Jet the black Labrador, recently visited Skills Group’s training facility in Plympton to reinforce earlier sessions covering the laws surrounding drugs, the health issues and the effects of being arrested or receiving a drugs warning. This first visit was part of Jet’s training.
Debra Rowan, Skills Group’s Quality Improvement Manager, said: “We are working closely with Devon and Cornwall Police in this positive initiative, helping to educate and raise awareness about the dangers of drug use amongst all our learners and staff.
It is important that everyone understands the issues associated with the use of drugs and the impact they can have, not just on them but also on their working environment and other people around them.
PC Waters and Jet came into our training facility in Plympton to meet some of our learners as part of Jet’s training. PC Waters planted some drugs on a member of staff for Jet to discover as a demonstration.”
Visits by passive drugs dogs will be conducted at Skills Group training centres on a regular but unscheduled basis, where they will be taken through the training areas and communal facilities such as the canteen, smoking shelter and toilets.
PC Waters said: “This has been a great opportunity to work Devon and Cornwall Police Dogs in live venues and to show how effective they are.
It is important to stress that this has not been a police operation but an invitation by Skills Group for us to work together in partnership, and to drive home to the young apprentices that drug use in the workplace is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.
Skills Group is an educational facility and has a zero-tolerance policy towards drug use in the workplace. I believe the drugs talks and Jet have had a positive impact in helping to educate young people about the dangers of drugs. I look forward to our visits in the future.”
Pictured: PC Steve Waters and trainee drug sniffer dog Jet.