THE CALL has gone out for dogs and their handlers to help Sussex Police locate missing people.
Volunteer search team ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex, which regularly assists Sussex Police, is seeking new dogs and their handlers to join them.
The team is starting training courses in March for dogs and their owners to learn some of the skills needed to help police search for missing people across the county.
Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison, from Sussex Police’s operations department, said: “The volunteers at ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex are an incredibly important resource for us here at Sussex Police when we are searching for people who have been reported missing.
“Often when someone is reported missing there is a large area for police to search and groups such as this make themselves available at all times of the day and night to help us cover a lot of ground quickly.
“The members and their dogs receive extensive training to find missing people, and as such provide a unique capability which enables them to support police efficiently and effectively freeing up officers to carry out other tasks during the search.”
Miranda Batterbee, proprietor of Sussex County Dog Training and secretary to ASLAR Search Dogs Sussex, said: “The courses in 2012 were really successful and we are thrilled to be taking on three excellent dogs from the courses for the team, as well as allowing a number of people who cannot commit to joining to have some great fun training with their dogs, while also raising money for the team.
“We are thoroughly looking forward to the courses we will be running this year and hope to continue to raise the profile of ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex and the great work our members do.”
Steve Ball, chairman of ALSAR Search Dogs Sussex, said: “One of the first questions that potential dog handlers want to know the answer to is: ‘Is my dog suitable for search and rescue work?’
“Teaming up with Sussex County Dog Training has enabled us to provide a course which allows interested members of the public to bring their dogs along to and find out if they are suited to this type of work.
“It has also provided us with a way of spotting talented dogs and handlers and ensuring they receive good basic training before joining the team.”
The courses start on Tuesday, April 2, and Tuesday, June 4, and run every Tuesday in the Chichester area for six weeks, costing £65.
As well as looking for new dog handlers ASLAR Search Dogs is also looking to recruit potential new search technicians who support the dog handlers by carrying out roles such as navigation, radio communication and first aid.
To find out more information about the training or what the group does visit www.lsdogs-sussex.org.uk
To book a place on one of the courses contact Nina at Sussex County Dog Training on 01243 697202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org