HC Deb 02 November 1998 vol 318 cc374-5W
Mr. Levitt

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instigate measures to ensure the highest standards of welfare for police dogs under training. [56957]

Mr. Boateng

I am of course concerned that police dogs undergoing training should be provided with the highest standards of welfare and I am assured that this is provided in the majority of cases.

All general-purpose police dogs should be trained along the lines set out in the Home Office Police Dog Training and Care Manual, which emphasises that training should be based on 'Praise and Reward'. The manual explains the need for self control on the part of the handler and stipulates that 'a handler should never resort to physical punishment in training the dog'.

I understand that all police forces have access to an independent veterinary officer. Some forces have recently received visits from both the RSPCA and the National Canine Defence League, who were given full access to all training facilities.

A number of forces entertain visitors to their premises, or hold open days, when visitors may see dogs being trained first hand.

I am unable to comment on the court case involving police officers from Essex Police which is sub judice.