CLEVELAND Police Dog Support Unit has held its first training course for external students since achieving national accreditation for its police dog training school.

The specialist course has been undertaken by police dogs and their handlers from South Yorkshire Police, Cumbria Constabulary and Northumbria Police.

The dog training school, which received accreditation last September, offers initial courses and instructor courses alongside courses for general purpose dogs, forensic evidence searches, firearms support and specialist searches such as drugs, cash, weapons and explosives.

The accreditation, which was awarded by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), was the result of an inspection by the Police Dog Working Group (PDWG) and included an examination of all lesson plans, record keeping, staffing, training estate, accommodation, kennelling, equipment, welfare arrangements and adherence to the Police Dogs Manual of Guidance.

Instructor PC Darren Gobie, who has worked within the Cleveland Police Dog Support Unit for 25 years, said: “We’re delighted to be able to hold our first training course for external Forces since achieving accreditation.

“We have been able to welcome colleagues from Northumbria, Cumbria and South Yorkshire Police for an 8-12 week course for specialist training and we would hope to expand our already wide range of courses available as we move forward with the training school and accept more students.

“The progress we have made since we achieved national accreditation is a great accomplishment for Cleveland Police Dog Support Unit. It shows how dedicated the unit is to providing the best possible service and keeping the communities of Cleveland safe.”