Guest blog: Martyn Evans, Chair of the Animal Welfare Visitor Scheme
The Animal Welfare Visiting Scheme is administered by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent and was established following the high-profile death of a police dog in Essex in 1997.
I have been Chair of the Animal Welfare Visiting Scheme since 2016 and have found it an enjoyable and interesting experience.
The committee is made up of members of the public who volunteer their time. All members are dog lovers, and many are involved in other forms of animal welfare also.
We hold quarterly meetings of the committee where serving officers from the Gwent Police Dog Section attend and give reports on the work of the section. They also report on the health of the general purpose police dogs and also the specialist sniffer dogs that help pinpoint drugs, cash, or explosives. The minutes of these meetings are available to view on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website.
The welfare of the dogs is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The committee organises a monthly inspection of officers and dogs at a police station to keep an eye on their health and wellbeing. We also do an inspection of the police dog kennels at Waterton in Bridgend every six months.
Thankfully, all dogs appear happy and in good health as a rule. Our role is made easier thanks to the expertise and commitment of Gwent Police’s dog handlers, and the senior officers who share their commitment, in a section whose role is continually expanding in the policing of Gwent.
The Animal Welfare Visiting Scheme Handbook has lots more information about the scheme and the role of the volunteers.