Have you spotted crime-fighting dogs on your train in Ilford?

PD Frank and PC Smith. Photo: BTP

PD Frank and PC Smith. Photo: BTP - Credit: Archant

If you have noticed some extra furry faces on your train in Ilford, it could be because you have crossed paths with a crime-fighting canine.

PC Bailey. Photo: Pete Cox

PC Bailey. Photo: Pete Cox - Credit: Archant

British Transport Police (BTP) have welcomed eight new police dogs into the force who will be deployed up and down the tracks to search for explosives and help fight bad behaviour on the railways.

PD Frank. Photo: Pete Cox

PD Frank. Photo: Pete Cox - Credit: Archant

Five have been trained in explosive detection, while the rest of the group are general purpose police dogs.

PD Dottie and PC Lloyd. Photo BTP

PD Dottie and PC Lloyd. Photo BTP - Credit: Archant

This means they can find everything from people to property and detain suspects following commands from their handlers.

Following a strict recruitment process and a rigorous two-week suitability course, the dogs and their handlers undertake a 12-week training course

In this time they become experts on detecting particular scents, but the work doesn’t stop there – dogs and their handlers are only licensed for a year at a time and are required to attend refresher courses every year to ensure they are still top of their game.

Following a passing out parade at a dog training school in Kent last week (Thursday January 24), the group will now be deployed to all manner of incidents across the country from violent assaults to missing people and burglaries.

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A large part of their duties, particularly for our explosive detection dogs, will also include proactive patrols across the network to deter and detect criminal intent, including terrorism.

Insp Paul Miles said: “This has been yet another successful training course for BTP dog section and I am thrilled to welcome the eight new recruits and their handlers.

“To become a fully licensed dog team is a huge achievement and one of which they should be very proud.

“Our dogs play a vital role in keeping the rail network safe, and this work will be strengthened even further with the addition of those who passed out today.”

Keep an eye out for PD Jessie, PD Ted, PD Bailey, PD Dottie, PD Rocky, PD Frank, PD Roxy, and PD Dixie on a train near you.