Avon and Somerset Police today becomes the first force in the country to launch a unique collaboration between its Mounted Section and Dogs Unit, to crack down on drug crime.
Thanks to a new discovery that horses’ sense of smell is more acute than before realised, the Sniffing Canine Equine Nose Team (S.C.E.N.T) will see Police Horses and Dogs team up to sniff out illegal substances including heroin, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine.
Stable manager Jonathan Green said: “We first discovered our horses’ incredible nasal abilities when Quantock tracked a man across Bristol city centre. We thought he just had some Polos in his pocket but it was later discovered he was packing £500 worth of cannabis.
“Not to be confused with drug mules – which are a completely different creature – our drug horses are definitely about detecting illegal substances and getting them off the streets.
“We’re thrilled our horses continue to be recognised for their varied skillsets. They’re all very excited about this career progression and working in partnership with their canine colleagues.”
Tri-Force T/Chief Inspector Shane Hawkings, who heads up the Dogs Unit, said: “These equestrian officers will be a very welcome addition to our team.
“While our dogs are incredible at sniffing out drugs, they often have difficulty detecting substances stashed in high places such as trees, bird houses, and under hats. This is where the horses will come in handy – helping us to reach new heights as a team.
“We’ve today released a video giving further details of the S.C.E.N.T and demonstrating how the horses and dogs will work together. Please watch it to see the team in action.”