Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Tenth Special Report

ANNEX 2: DETECTOR DOG DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE : pilot into the use of dogs to detect and deter illegal imports of products of animal origin from third countries.

1. The aim of the six month pilot study will be to inform decisions about the use of the dogs:

a)  assessing their effectiveness to detect and deter illegal imports of products of animal origin

b)  how and where they would be best deployed, and in what numbers

c)  lessons for scaling up the use of detector dogs, should these be required. Including future training requirements, implications for handlers and the enforcement teams which the dogs support

d)  whether the pilot should be extended if results are inconclusive at the end of 6 months.

2. Note:  Decisions about the future use of dogs will also be linked to developments across other areas of the Government's action plan1 to tackle illegal imports. The outcome of other work, including the risk assessment and reviews of organisational structures will be of particular relevance to decisions on the possible number of dogs, responsibilities for managing the service, and how they should be deployed.

Success criteria

1.  The speed and accuracy of detections compared with other profiling methods (to select bags/cargo for inspection).

2.  Data/information collected provides evidence of strong likelihood that over time the use of dogs will a) help increase prevention and detection rates, and b) deter smuggling.

3.  Results of independent market research and other information indicates the use of dogs will have a significant positive impact on the public's views on:

a.  the effectiveness of the UK import controls

b.  heightened awareness of import rules for meat, other animal products but also plant and other plant products

c.  Government action to tackle illegal imports

d.  the practical impact on the airport environment of scaling up.


Two animal health officers from the state veterinary service and dogs to be selected and complete two training phases 1) based at the metropolitan training school, Keston 2) based at Heathrow under the guidance of an HMCE experienced handler.

The pilot will commence on 16 September 2002 and will run for six months. There will be a mid­point review scheduled for 16 December with a report by 31 December.

Steps are in hand to act quickly if the pilot indicates positive results and recommends the introduction of further detector dogs.

Deployment and evaluation will be based on current HMCE detector dog practice. Customs evaluation methods will be used wherever possible.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24 September 2002

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