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“Nighty nighty, sleepy tighty. Don’t let the bedbugs bitey bitey!” 

Rupert_Bed_Bug_Prevention Rupert | Bed Bug Detection Dog

My name is Gemma and together with one of my dogs Rupert, we make a bedbug detection team. 

So how did we get into searching for something so gross?

Well... the past decade has been spent training and breeding pet-dogs and gun-dog breeds: Springers, Cockers, Labradors and Hungarian Vizslas. This background has given me a knowledge and understanding of the breeds typically used in detection work which is all important when it comes to training and working with all the beautiful energy that our search dogs have. 

It was about fifteen years ago that I first wished I could be an explosives detection dog handler. After the Manchester terror attacks and the subsequent London attacks, I felt more compelled than ever and decided in early 2018 that it was now or never and so I did it with one of the dogs I had previously bred. We qualified in the Summer of 2018. 

I had another dog that I also wanted to train to search for explosives but because he is a bit of a mummy’s boy, I thought that a different style of search might suit him better. Our unusually hot summer had brought with it a rapid increase of bedbug infestations and suffering by humans. Bedbugs exist in even the cleanest of establishments and can cost businesses thousands of pounds in personal injury claims, so a good detection dog is a useful tool. I resolved to put Rupert’s good nose to good use, and we qualified as a team in 2018.  

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Sniffer Dog and Suspicious Packages

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Sniffer Dogs.  To act or not to act? Think, if my area of responsibility is shut down due to a suspicious package or incident, what will the knock on effects be? Trading floors closed? Retail outlets closed? Sporting Events cancelled? Core business suspended?

Are Sniffer dogs at the front of your mind and what drives the blue light response will be the safety of your staff and any public who may use your facilities, but what will the financial cost be? For a shopping centre, retailers could lose thousands in lost revenue and trading floor closure could be far more damaging financially. Then, after possibly several hours, the blue light response teams declare the incident a false alarm, albeit reported with good intent. Ouch!

Islamic state, by whatever name, is “reaching out” over increasing geographical territory and it’s not to have a chin wag and a cup of tea! Budget cuts to law enforcement, reduction in services, a Border Force under pressure and an almost daily increase in the number of “refugees” entering Europe is placing pressure on our ability to protect what we value. The latest report from Europol “Changes in modus operandi of Islamic State terrorist attacks” dated 18thJanuary 2016, together with regular pieces from papers such as The Telegraph are not to be ignored.

This is a problem that effects our whole society, not just within the commercial world or infrastructure, but what do we do about it?

There are as many ways of looking at remedies as there are threats, so some thought must be applied. The cost of implementing measures v the results of those measures would be a good start.

One tool in the armoury of protective measures is the ability to have a suspect object, whether accidentally discarded by the public, staff or delivered by courier, quickly checked by Sniffer Dogs or as we prefer to call them Explosives Detection Dogs, (EDD). Users of this service take the view that the financial outlay is far outweighed by the ability to confirm if the reported threat needs to be escalated or not. If the threat has substance, (an indication from the Sniffer Dog), then action plans are put into motion. If not, then normality can resume with the minimum of disruption whilst having ensured that staff and public are protected fully within their corporate responsibilities. Look at it as an insurance policy, with a win win result.

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