Explosive detection dogs introduced to UK airports
Dogs that are capable of detecting minute traces of explosives concealed in air freight are being deployed in cargo sheds at British airports as the government introduces its latest measure to reinforce the UK's aviation security.
Free running explosive detection dogs (FREDDs) working in close partnership with their human handlers are being used to check freight for a range of explosive materials. The dogs are being used alongside existing screening methods, offering a rapid and effective way of screening large volumes of air cargo.
Each animal has undergone 12 months of rigorous training to achieve government certification before being deployed in the cargo sheds. As they carry out their operational duties they will go through a regular quality assurance programme.
The world leading standards that have been set by the government will make sure that a robust programme is in place which guarantees and maintains the animals' detection capabilities.
In 2016, goods worth £178 billion were transported by air between the UK and non-EU countries. These detection dogs have the potential to play a vital role in helping to ensure such cargo is safe to fly.
"Free running explosive detection dogs are the latest addition to the government's multi-layered approach to tackling potential aviation security threats," said Baroness Sugg, aviation minister. "The ability of these highly-skilled dogs to detect small amounts of vapour from explosives hidden in cargo will bolster our existing rigorous security methods, and I was really impressed to see them in action. The UK's aviation security standards are already among the best in the world and we will continue to seek out new and innovative ways to ensure that passengers remain protected."
Dogs are already used successfully in a variety of ways at UK airports, for example, by helping police to identify criminals and prevent illegal activity. The introduction of FREDDs will add to this capability and provide the aviation industry with a new way to fight the threat of terrorism.