Page 22 - Chiron Spring/Summer 2023
P. 22

Vehicle Search Dog
by Sgt Brook
The vehicle search course is currently a 4-week course where members of the Royal Air force and Royal Army Veterinary Corps can attend and learn how to handle a vehicle search dog.
Whilst on the course, the students will be paired with one of the Defence Animal Training Regiments’ course dogs, and the students
will have to pass certain practical assessments demonstrating that they can utilise their VS dog to search a wide variety of vehicles, to find a range of targets, as-well-as numerous challenging theoretical assessments.
Due to the ever-changing state of the current climate, we are constantly adapting to make the course as relevant and realistic as possible.
One such change is that our students will conduct searches on
a live gate’s as-well as scenarios in compounds, looking for “finds” whilst wearing full body armour and helmets. This is vital to replicate conditions students may find
themselves in, during the course and on operations. Trying to work with an enthusiastic young dog can be challenging enough, and then restrictive PPE is also added to the mix.
We also have scenarios whereby the handler may be working with a foreign national as a cover person, and through utilising the interpreter, they must get across what is expected of the cover person and his team and all relevant safety points they need to brief. During some
of our scenarios, it can be high- pressure situations, so clear, concise instructions and keeping calm under
pressure are vital in ensuring the search is carried out without a hiccup and
as safely as possible.
Training like on course is
fantastic, as it means individuals are deployed with some prior exposure to specific barriers they may come across and how they may deal with them.
Therefore, they are not exposed
to these things for the first time on the ground, making them a more prepared, and confident search asset, ready to be utilised in the ever- changing environment.
 Another adaptation to the course
is that we have also added scenario work incorporating interpreters.
This allows our students to work
with actors who play individuals with either limited
English or who
cannot speak
English at all.
This prepares
our students
to work with
people with
barriers when deployed. They may have to use the interpreter to ask an individual their details upon entering or exiting an establishment or to brief them about a search of their vehicle, which is about to take place and what the handler requires from them. They must ensure their briefs are concise and to the letter to confirm no confusion and minimise any misinterpretation of any information.
 “This prepares our students to work with people with potential language barriers when deployed.”
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