How police dog earns more than top officer

How police dog earns more than top officer
31 December 2005
Huddersfield Examiner
Neil Atkinson

Police sniffer dog Keela found vital clues in the high-profile case of Surrey stabbing victim Abigail Witchalls (left).

The springer spaniel is also pictured with South Yorkshire Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes

ONE of the country's top police dogs earns more in a day than the South Yorkshire Chief Constable, it emerged today.

Keela, a 16-month-old springer spaniel, can sniff out the smallest samples of human blood - even after items have been cleaned or washed many times.

The South Yorkshire Police dog has already helped forces across the country, including working on the high-profile stabbing of Abigail Witchalls in Surrey.

Keela is hired out at £530 per day, plus expenses. If she worked every day of the year, she would earn almost £200,000 - about £70,000 more than her force's chief constable.

Forces worldwide have expressed interest in her specialist training and Keela will be travelling to America in the new year to help the FBI with two murder inquiries.

A South Yorkshire force spokeswoman said Keela - officially a crime scene investigation dog - has saved more then £200,000 nationally since April this year, helping with investigations in Ireland, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Surrey and the Thames Valley.

Her handler, Pc Martin Grime, has been responsible for training Keela, along with National Search Adviser Mark Harrison, since June last year.

Then the eight-week-old puppy, who was bred by West Midlands Police, became the centre of an experiment to see whether she could be trained to work as part of the team.

Unlike ordinary police dogs, Keela has never taken part in the usual six-week training course but has been trained, bit by bit, by Pc Grime every day.

Her programme involved training her to ignore decomposing body materials, other than human blood.

And instead of barking when she smells blood, she has been trained to have a 'passive' alert - freezing, with her nose as near to the subject matter as possible without touching it.

This enables scientists to recover the sample quickly and efficiently - saving time and money.

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