Unit History: Police Dog Handler
RAF units throughout the country were using locally obtained dogs to guard airfields during the early part of the War, but in 1942, at the height of World War II, Lieutenant Colonel Baldwin formed the Ministry of Aircraft Production Guard Dog School (MAPGDS) at Woodfold near Gloucester, turning out professionally trained RAF dog handlers which in turn released hundreds of men for war duties who had previously been employed as guards. In 1944 the MAPGDS was absorbed by the RAF Police and re-titled as the RAF Police Dog Training School.
The RAF began training dogs to detect illicit drugs in 1970 and later trained dogs to detect firearms and explosives. Impressed with the training standards and quality of the dogs, HM Customs & Excise began using RAF drug detection dogs to good effect. In late 1975 dog training moved to Newton; Mr Fricker retired and was succeeded by Mr Terry McHaffie. RAF Police dogs were called upon to search Shell’s off-shore oil rigs in 1979 for the presence of terrorist bombs. RAF Police dogs were used to guard various prisons at the end of 1980 when prison officers went on strike and during 1982, a member of the public donated the 10,000th dog to the RAF Police. Two dog trainers were sent to Thailand in 1984 to train Air Force dogs to search for firearms and explosives.
Following the end of the Gulf War in 1991, RAF Police dogs were used to guard large numbers of Iraqi prisoners-of-war in Kuwait. Later, the rules changed which allowed females to join the RAF as dog handlers.
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