Snarling, barking, teeth gnashing as they hurtle after a suspect – you could be forgiven for seeing why police dogs have sometimes had a bad reputation.
But according to South Yorkshire Police’s PC Brian Grange, a dog handler with the force for 12 years, there are countless jobs a police dogs can do and results they can get that would simply be impossible without them.
The officer took The Star through an afternoon on patrol and a slew of canine training exercises to show off the good work the dogs do day to day on the force.
The force currently has 35 dogs in total across a mixture of disciplines, but cutbacks mean that number is set to fall to around 25.
PC Grange said: “A dog is cheaper than officers. They pay me a couple of hundred to look after him. There are some costs involved in training but to hire an officer you have to pay wages and it will cost a lot more.
“Every day, a police dog is used in a situation where we wouldn’t have had success if it wasn’t for the dog.”
Responding to some of the criticism levelled at police dogs from the public, he added: “They are not machines. They are unpredictable and you have to be mindful of hazards, glass, live wires.”
PC Grange added: “Occasionally the wrong person gets bit – and you have to minimise that as much as you can.
“You get people saying they have bitten innocents or you get complaints from members of the public saying it’s not proportional.
“You get outcry from that but you don’t take into account the fact that he was out robbing cars.
“You can’t please everyone – someone will say it’s not proportional.
“You make split second decisions.”
To read the full interview and feature, click here.