Meet Britain’s first digital device detective dogs
You may think your phone doesn’t smell, but the newest additions to the Devon and Cornwall Police force would beg to differ. They might also beg for table scraps.
The UK police force is trialling its first pair of digital storage detection dogs. In layman’s terms, they’re sniffer dogs trained to detect hidden storage devices like SD cards and they track the very faint scent of a particular chemical used in storage drives. This ability is very useful in a various number of investigations, as the dogs can find tiny hidden devices much faster than human investigators who’d usually have to comb through all the nooks and crannies of a building looking for something potentially as small as a fingernail.
These new—and super fluffy—detectives are named Rob and Tweed. Take a look at their sleuthy doggy genius.
So why get dogs for the job? According to Chief Superintendent Jim Nye of Devon and Cornwall Police, the dogs will “give the police a new way to fight the threat of terrorism, paedophiles and fraudsters.”
The detecto-doggos already seem to be proving their worth. According to Devon and Cornwall Police’s Graham Attwood, they’ve already been used in more than 50 warrants, according to the official article. In one case, Tweed spotted a fake coke can full of cash and SD cards, while Rob managed to spot a device hidden in a drawer.
There’s already a proven track record for digital storage detection dogs in the U.S., where they are sometimes called ‘porn dogs’ because they have been used to locate hidden storage devices with pornography on them.
The idea for using dogs this way in the UK germinated in 2015 when Attwood started looking into the possibility of training a dog to sniff out devices that the human eye could easily miss. With a little help from visiting officers from the U.S., Attwood trained up the dogs — and by the end Rob and Tweed passed “with flying colours,” according to the official statement.
Despite their success the pooches are still technically on trial, with the police set to review their efficacy and whether they should widen the project at the end of this year.