There are more than 60 police dogs sniffing out crime,
tracking missing people and enforcing public order on the
streets of Essex.
The Essex Police Dog
Unit, based at Sandon near Chelmsford, provides countywide support
to specialist operations and supports officers in their day to day
efforts to keep crime down.
Formed in 1953, the unit started with just two handlers and two
dogs, a Doberman called Remoh and a German Shepherd named
As dogs proved more and more effective in supporting traditional
policing, the section grew, eventually training dogs to track
ground disturbance and scent and detain criminals.
Essex Police now has 33 general purpose police dogs, all of
which are German Shepherds.
All general purpose police dogs are put through their paces with
13 weeks of intensive training at Sandon before hitting the streets
with their handler. You can see Gunner, a pedigree German Shepherd,
in training in our series of films listed in the useful links box
on the right hand side of this page.
All dogs are put to the test by an independent examiner and will
be expected to help find missing people, enforce public order and
track scent to locate hiding criminals once they've made the
Essex Police also has 10 drugs and weapon recovery dogs which
are all of the Springer breed. Springer Spaniels make great search
dogs because of their tireless nature and small size, a definite
advantage when searching houses and cars.
Drugs and weapon recovery dogs are trained to search for and alert
to their handlers a range of illegal drugs, weapons and their
The Unit also operates six explosive search Labradors that sniff
out explosive substances.