The Animal Welfare Scheme (AWS) is all about ensuring Leicestershire's police dogs are properly cared for and receive the highest standards of welfare while serving on behalf of the force.
The operation of the AWS is the responsibility of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and is exercised in consultation with the Chief Constable. Once a month AWS visitors will make an unannounced visit in pairs to the Leicestershire Police Dog Unit. They will check on the conditions in which the dogs are housed, trained and transported. They will also observe dog training in progression and will provide feedback on all visits via an electronic visit report form. Feedback from their visits will be shared with the OPCC Volunteers Manager and the Sergeant of the Dog Unit.
The AWS visitors will always be accompanied by an officer or staff member during their visit who will ensure that the dogs are secure in their kennels before proceeding (or on a lead if the dogs are training). There is no direct physical contact with the dogs and all dogs are vaccinated. The AWS visitors will receive a brief at the start of the visit which will include the details of the dogs on site, the fire evacuation procedure and if there are any dogs that are isolating due to infection.
The AWS visitors, all members of the public who have volunteered to dedicate their time to the scheme, have received training and upon visiting the kennels have been impressed with the variety of enrichment activities on offer for Leicestershire’s canine cops which include a sandpit, pool and open space to explore.
All visits carried out by the AWS volunteers must meet the accepted standards endorsed by the RSPCA, the OPCC and Leicestershire Police. Further details about this scheme can be found within the Animal Welfare Scheme handbook which can be downloaded below.