Thursday, 13 September 2012

Four-Legged Cameraman To Improve Police Searches

By Ben Aulakh

Man’s best friend and the latest in digital camera technology are being combined by police in Staffordshire to help improve police searches.

The forces Dog Support Unit have acquired a new digital FidoCam - a camera unit which can be used by police dogs during routine searches of premises.

The unit attaches to the dog’s head and transmits footage back to a live colour monitor; the digital gadget supersedes an analogue version which had a limited signal range.

Staffordshire Police are the first force to use the FidoCam and it’s hoped it will further enhance the invaluable contribution police dogs make to tactical policing.

Inspector Chris Dawson of the Dog Support Unit said, “This bit of kit is fantastic – it attaches to the dog’s head and we can get a live view of what they are seeing.

“There are many situations when this technology will be beneficial to our officers.”

“For example, when searching for a dangerous person we can send the dog into a building with the camera to search for them, when they indicate a find by barking we will be able to see exactly what or who they have found.”

It is hoped that the new dog-mounted camera will ultimately provide officers with more information, enabling them to deal with any situation safely and appropriately.

Insp Dawson added, “It will also be extremely useful when searching difficult or inaccessible areas for missing people – a dog can make its way through dense woodland and undergrowth very quickly.

“While the handler will maintain verbal contact with the dog, the camera will allow them to search vast areas a lot faster.”

“I am really pleased we have access to the FidoCam, it’s a really positive tool which I’m sure our officers will make good use of.”

The advancements in technology mean that the signal is much stronger and the picture is clear and crisp; the footage can also be recorded and used as evidence.

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