Tackling crime behind bars-Detecting New Versions Of Spice In Prisons

Monday, 15 March, 2021

Prison drug dogs will be trained to sniff out new and emerging strands of Spice as part of the government's comprehensive plan to tackle violence and disorder behind bars.

In the last year alone over 100 kilograms of illegal drugs, including Spice, have been detected by drug dogs in England and Wales. But the efforts of some suppliers to outwit detection by changing the chemical make-up of Spice makes it difficult for dogs to find.

The new funding will mean scientists can develop enhanced training courses which will help sniffer dogs in detecting new and adapted variants of Spice - keeping illegal drugs out of prison and reducing reoffending which costs the taxpayer £18 billion a year.

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer MP, said:
“Spice drives violence, self-harm and crime behind bars so it's crucial we prevent it getting into the hands of prisoners.
“That is why we're investing millions in technology, sniffer dogs and training to cut smuggling and ensure prisons are places where people can turn their backs on crime.”

The partnership between the Ministry of Justice and the Dstl will see scientists analysing the psychoactive substance as it changes, to determine the most effective and safest way to train dogs to sniff out new blends of Spice.
The sniffer dogs will then undergo training in scent recognition followed by an operational assessment before they are placed into prisons.

Dog handler and trainer, Kev Appleton from the National Dog Inspectorate, said: “This partnership will significantly increase our dogs' effectiveness in the fight against trafficking, substance misuse and violence in our prisons.”

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