Latest News > New guidelines on how to correctly handle security dogs
BSI, the business standards company, has launched BS 8517-1, Code of practice for the use of general security dogs and BS 8517-2, Code of practice for the use of detection dogs, to provide guidelines for organizations and individuals who use dogs as a security measure.
BSI convened a diverse group of individuals and organizations who use security dogs, such as construction site managers, police officers, and the MoD to develop the standard. The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) classifies security dogs as second only to firearms in 'use of force', demonstrating a critical safety need for a standard that provides comprehensive advice for professional dog handlers.
Approximately 5000 security dogs are employed in the UK security sector. The new standards provide recommendations on how dog handlers should professionally handle a dog on a day-to-day basis, and give detailed advice on how to comply with existing government legislation, such as The Guard Dogs Act 1975, The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, and the latest Animal Control Bill 2015.
The standards were designed to provide comprehensive guidance for the many varied uses of security dogs, including in high-security environments were dogs trained in bomb detection must be expertly handled.
Building and construction site employees who require a security dog on a mobile basis can also use the standard. Security dogs are sought by construction managers not only to protect a building site but to protect the handler or other staff, as they act as a visual deterrent.
Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance and Resilience at BSI, said: "BS 8517-1 and -2 were designed to simplify the patchwork of laws security dog handlers must abide by. It is essential that both the handler and the security patrol dog have been fully trained and work in partnership so that the dogs are safe when taken out amongst members of the public, but can also defend the handler should the need arise."
BS 8517-1, Code of practice for the use of general security dogs, covers all aspects concerning the general welfare of the dog, including kennelling and veterinary guidance. Recommendations in the standard take into account recent changes in dog breeds and the requirement for compulsory micro-chipping in security dogs. The need for dog handlers to obtain specific insurance and equipment - including the use of correction collars - are also covered in the standard.
BS 8517-2, Code of practice for the use of detection dogs, was developed for more advanced users of security dogs, such as those who require dogs in the detection of drugs, firearms, munitions and explosives. Part 2 also includes issues relating to the welfare of the animal covered by Part 1 of the standard, and recommendations for procuring security dog services to ensure the service meets the unique requirements of dog handlers.
Organizations also involved in the development of this standard include the National Security Industry Authority, The Royal Army Veterinary, the National Association of Security Dog Users, the National Police Chiefs' Council and the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.