Police Dog Welfare Visitors are appointed by the the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and support him to hold the Chief Constable to account. The scheme operates jointly with the North Wales PCC.
The joint Police Dog Welfare Scheme in Cheshire and North Wales was set up to check on the welfare of police dogs.
Police Dog Welfare Visitors check on the welfare of all police dogs, particularly in relation to the RSPCA’s ‘Five Freedoms’ attending kennels and training facilities.
The RSPCA believes that anyone responsible for looking after animals should try to give them the five freedoms. The five freedoms are considered aspirational, as they cannot always be achieved and maintained at all times. For example, an animal may need to feel hungry before it will eat. However, animal keepers should always aim to provide the five freedoms to their animals as far as possible.
The five freedoms are:
Freedom from hunger and thirst - animals should have access to fresh water all the time and the right type of food to keep them fit.
Freedom from discomfort - animals should have the right type of home, including shelter and somewhere comfortable to rest.
Freedom from pain, injury or disease - animals should always be fit and well and should be treated by a vet if they are sick or injured.
Freedom to express normal behaviour - animals should have enough space, proper facilities and the company of other animals of their own kind.
Freedom from fear or distress - by making sure the animals' conditions and treatment avoid mental suffering.
Why was the Police Dog Welfare Visitor Scheme created?
More than 21 years ago, the death of police dog ‘Acer’ whilst training in Essex, as well as the subsequent prosecution of police officers involved, resulted in an understandable loss of public confidence in relation to police dog training methods.
The Police Dog Welfare Scheme aims to maintain standards and ensure that Cheshire Constabulary’s training procedures are ethical, humane, transparent and accountable. Police Dog Welfare Visitors observe, comment and report on the conditions in which the Constabulary’s dogs are housed, trained and transported.
We currently have a number of experienced and dedicated volunteers who work hard to ensure standards are high and that members of the public are well-serviced.