New medical training helps dog handlers and their canine companions save lives
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Police dog handlers have received new medical training to help them and their canine companions to save lives at serious crime scenes across Staffordshire.
The 13-week-long specialist training has been ‘rolling over’ to handlers to enable them to respond quickly to medical emergencies such as stabbings, road traffic collisions and other serious incidents.
It’s a welcome development for the team of 23 handlers and police dogs who are used to being deployed primarily to weapons-related incidents, where the training will enable the force to increase capability at serious incidents, with the dogs themselves having an important part to play in process.
Sergeant Matthew Butterworth, a dog handler for PD Chewie, explains: “As a unit we are now able to respond quickly to any incident that may require early medical intervention.
“Police dogs are often deployed to respond to some of the most dangerous incidents and this will continue following this training – with the dogs accompanying us at serious incidents where there is a potential threat to life.
“We know how important it is to help and protect victims as soon as possible and this training will help us to continue to do that, with the dogs helping us to preserve life as much as possible as well as sniff out potential offenders.”
It comes as the force has recently confirmed its latest operating model, which focuses on responding more quickly to emergencies and providing a high-quality, consistent and caring service for victims of crime.
It is also hoped that the training will help take pressure off local ambulance service teams.
Sergeant Butterworth added: “Now our specially-trained handlers can both police the incident and administer first-aid while ambulance crews are on their way.
“Our Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs) come equipped with tourniquets, bandages, oxygen, and first aid kits – ready for officers to administer where necessary.
“Officers can also use their dog to diffuse any threats in the area should they arise. They serve as an excellent tool in managing the scene rapidly and their presence alone usually deters offenders from interfering with officers on the job, who may be in a race against time to administer first aid.”
One recent example in 2021, saw dog-handler PC Pete Clarke and PD Neyo dispatched to the scene of a stabbing where a man had been seriously hurt in Featherstone.
PC Clarke was able to apply dressings and bandages to the single stab wound to help prevent further blood loss.
Paramedics later conveyed the victim to hospital where he made a full recovery.
PC Timothy Moss and PD Artic were also dispatched to the scene of a serious road traffic collision in Burton last year.
The pair were the first on the scene and managed to locate a man who was screaming in pain having sustained two fractured tibias in the collision.
Using the medical equipment from the ARV, PC Moss applied two tourniquets to the man’s wounds, stemming the blood flow and isolating the injuries – all while administering oxygen therapy to the heavily distressed man.
Sgt Butterworth added: “Our dog handlers are always dispatched to serious incidents, so they have to be prepared for a wide array of events, whether this is a medical emergency or a threat to the public.
“I am pleased that this latest training has proved to be beneficial not only to the officers who have experienced it but to those who we have been able to help as a result.”