A new animal welfare scheme has been launched by Gloucestershire Constabulary.
The Animal Welfare Independent Visitors scheme will be led by the Dogs Trust and aims to improve living conditions for police animals.
Members of the public will be able to visit training centres and accommodations to give feedback.
The police want to treat service animals as ‘sentient beings’ rather than assets, and the initiative was driven by Commissioner Martin Surl.
A similar scheme has been in practice in South Wales since 2001, after the death of a police dog.
The scheme follows on from ‘Finn’s Law’ passed in 2019, inspired by a dog named Finn who was injured during police service.
The dog and his owner appeared on Britain’s Got Talent last year, making it to the final with a heart warming mind-reading act.
Chief Constable Rod Hansen said: “As national lead for police dogs, I often hear incredible accounts of the difference our brave service animals make providing protection, catching criminals and finding missing people, and I welcome the checks and balances put in place by the Animal Welfare Independent Visitors Scheme to ensure their well-being and protection.
“Independent scrutiny is something all forces have benefitted from over the years and our partnership with Dogs Trust and the Independent Visitors who give up their time voluntarily for the scheme is important to its success.”
Police dogs and horses will also be given individual ID cards and collar number.