Met Chief Bans Drug Sniffer Dogs

Met Chief Bans Drug Sniffer Dogs
Posted by FoM on March 01, 2002 at 10:18:18 PT
By Humfrey Hunter
Source: Evening Standard UK
The Met commander who described anarchism as "appealing" is reported to have banned sniffer dogs from Brixton, an area notorious for drugs and gun crime. Brian Paddick, commander of Lambeth, has barred the animals across the borough because of fears that they upset Afro-Caribbeans. Glen Smyth, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation union, said: "The dogs are worth their weight in gold and quite simply we cannot hope to stamp out the drug problem which fuels so many other crimes without dogs trained to detect drugs." 
A police source said the decision was made after Mr Paddick held talks with senior officers and consultative groups. From now on, dog patrols will only be used in the borough on specific, intelligence-led operations. "It is a cultural thing," the source told The Sun. "Some of the local West Indian population find dogs very frightening and believe they have connotations with the slave trade." Scotland Yard recently launched a Safer Streets campaign with patrols using six dogs to catch people with drugs throughout the capital. They now cannot work in Lambeth. On Tuesday night a unit based in Catford began carrying out random checks on passengers at Stockwell Tube using a three-year-old labrador called Josh. Handler Pc Lester Nicholson said: "When we turned up for an operation with the tactical support group and informed the British Transport Police office what we were doing, the inspector said there might be a problem. "A phone call was made to Commander Paddick's office and we were told they didn't want us working in Lambeth. And we were told we couldn't go anywhere near Brixton with dogs. No proper explanation was given to us." Mr Nicholson added: "We are not overly concerned about people carrying small amounts of cannabis, but we have been turning up people with guns and Class A drugs. The dogs are not in the least bit frightening." Brixton street trader Winston Benjamin, 48, said: " Anything that can be done to confront the problems we have here should be done. Sniffer dogs help the area and can only improve the area. So why take them off the streets? It's a senseless idea." Lenny Taylor, 31, said: "There's no police presence at all, so taking sniffer dogs off the streets will just make the problem worse." Mr Paddick courted controversy last July when he effectively de-criminalised cannabis in Lambeth by telling his officers not to arrest people with the drug. He is on holiday in Australia. Source: London Evening Standard (UK)Author: Humfrey HunterPublished: March 1, 2002Copyright: 2002 Associated Newspapers Ltd.Contact: letters Articles:There's Nothing Soft About Dutch Drugs Policy Countries Took The Drugs Test Laws Revolution Set for UK
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