Wagtail UK launches explosive detection dog services for air cargo

By Damian Brett

Wagtail UK FREDD

Wagtail UK has achieved government certification to provide explosive detection dog services for the UK air cargo industry.

The company said that it had undertaken a “rigorous training programme” set out by the UK government to prepare its Free Running Explosive Detection Dogs (FREDD) for air cargo screening.

Wagtail’s first dog to successfully achieve government certification, Ben, has undergone over 12 months of rigorous training before being deployed in the cargo sheds. As he carries out his operational duties, he will go through a regular quality assurance programme.

Both the certification and quality assurance process that the dogs go through is set by the Department for Transport (DfT) and is undertaken by the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

DfT will share oversight with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the CAA will have a further responsibility ensuring those who operate the dogs do so in line with the standards set out by Dft.

Wagtail have a number of other dogs in training ready now to be assessed. 

Collin Singer, managing director, Wagtail UK said: “Covid-19 has delayed having seven more of our dogs assessed, however the safety of our staff and dogs is paramount.  We will complete the assurance process with seven more dogs when it is safe to do so.”

Wagtail UK said that explosive detection dogs have a unique ability to sniff out odours in parts-per-trillion.

“The dogs work in close partnership with their human handlers and are trained to check freight for a range of explosive materials,” the company explained.

“Dogs also smell in layers, which allows them to recognise an individual explosive ingredient even when that explosive is masked by other odours. Dogs are able to move around the cargo to conduct the search without interfering with the sort process or freight environment.”

Now certification has been attained Wagtail will provide a FREDD service to be used alongside existing cargo screening methods.

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