Police dogs that are part of canine squads of Central para-military forces shall now be evaluated annually based on the ‘K9 proficiency evaluation test’ developed by the home ministry in line with global performance standards, while all young dogs will be put through ‘K9 behaviour assessment test’ at the entry-level to evaluate their suitability for detection purpose or patrol work or for both, and get trained accordingly, a top official in the home ministry told TOI.
The K9 proficiency evaluation test (PET) and K9 behaviour assessment test (BAT) have been devised by the MHA Police K9 cell, a dedicated wing established last year under the police modernisation division of the home ministry with the mandate of mainstreaming and augmentation of police K9s in the country.
“With K9 BAT it would be easy to screen the most suitable pups or young adults and K9 PET or ‘aanklan’ would help in evaluating serving police dogs against globally-accepted performance standards. These test models were shared with various Central para-military forces in September 2020 for implementation,” Col P K Chug, consulting director of the MHA Police K9 cell, told TOI.
BAT consists of 12 sub-tests that evaluate the behaviour/reaction of a dog prior to his specialised training, on counts such as affability, handling, leash, retrieving, the reaction on an unstable table, search, metal stair, visual startle, gradual visual startle, acoustic startle, dark room reaction and gunshot reaction. “A confident dog displays less or no reaction to these sub-tests. Based on results, one can determine if the dog is suited to and has a natural flair for detection or patrol work or both,” said Chug.
Regarding K9 PET, he said the MHA has given the Central forces two years for compliance. “This means that serving dogs who fail to clear the test can be put through refresher courses to enhance their proficiency to the level demanded by the test, which they must finally clear,” he explained.
The long-term plan is to let the Central forces assess the proficiency of their working dogs internally every six months and put them through an independent audit on an annual basis.
“We have issued these performance standards, which we are calling minimum level operational capabilities, for each specialisation. These are the benchmark criteria which a trained dog should achieve annually in a quantifiable manner,” said Chug.
An interesting advantage of the yearly evaluation of proficiency of trained police dogs is that their testimony shall be admissible in the court of law. This means that the evidence gathered by the canines in the form of narcotics, explosives etc detected by them, shall be admissible in a court of law since their proficiency would have been assessed and certified within a legally accepted timeframe.
Meanwhile, a two-day seminar is being organised by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) starting Thursday to discuss the use of dual-purpose police K9s (who can perform detection as well as patrol functions) for augmenting national security.
The second national police K9 seminar, to be inaugurated by home secretary Ajay Bhalla, will also discuss current emerging fields in canine training and the use of indigenous breeds as working dogs.
Source: Times of India
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