Police dog units planned merger and cuts 'not acceptable'

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Plans to cut the number of police dogs and merge units for Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire have been criticised as "not acceptable".

From 1 April 2014 teams will work from hubs at Almondsbury, Bamfurlong, Bridgewater and Devizes.

Former Metropolitan Police officer Mike Pannett of #DontDitchTheDogs campaign said the public, dogs and officers would be put at risk by the measures.

Tri-Force Supt Tony Godwin said move would "reduce duplication".

'Scent gone'

Supt Godwin said: "No police officers will lose their jobs in this collaboration but the efficiencies mean that some officers will move back into Local and Neighbourhood Policing roles."

Mr Pannett said of the 48 dog handlers for the tri-force area, 24 will be in Avon and Somerset and 12 each in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

"The operational reality is that officers can be waiting an hour or more for a dog to arrive at the scene of a burglary," he said.

"The scent will have gone and the trail will be cold meaning officers on the ground will have little to no chance of tracing the suspects. This is simply not acceptable."

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