Home Guarding “Regulation of security dog industry now long overdue” urges Ward Security’s CEO

“Regulation of security dog industry now long overdue” urges Ward Security’s CEO

by Brian Sims

Regulation of the security dog industry is long overdue and an issue that demands to be addressed. That’s the view of David Ward, CEO of national security company Ward Security. “While BS 8517-1:2016 Security Dogs – Part 1: Code of Practice for the Use of General Security Dogs provides an excellent Best Practice framework, it’s not currently a legal requirement for any supplier of general purpose security dogs to meet the British Standard,” stated Ward. “We believe the Home Office needs to review the Private Security Industry Act 2001 and make dog handling a licensable activity, whereby suppliers would be obliged to meet the Code of Practice.”

Ward went on to state: “Organisations such as the National Association of Security Dog Users diligently strive to offer courses, training and their own accreditations, but the reality of the situation is that Best Practice standards are voluntary and so don’t provide the industry-wide safeguards against incidents that are, unfortunately, inevitable. A legal obligation to meet the British Standard would result in a much safer environment, as well as a higher level of service for those customers who employ general purpose security dog services.”

As far as Ward’s concerned, it “cannot be right” that somebody can offer to ‘hire out’ dogs for security use with no safeguards in place as to the nature, training or capability of the animals involved. “That this happens serves to illustrate the ridiculous ‘Wild West’ situation we find ourselves in and the urgent need of a review.”

David Ward

David Ward

Ward stated: “Hindsight is uncomfortable when talking about unheeded warnings. The risks of unregulated security dogs, services, training and handlers are obvious. The dogs used for security are, by definition, potentially very dangerous and capable of serious injury or fatality. A six-stone German Shepherd dog presents a formidable deterrent when under proper control, but an inadequately trained one in the hands of an inadequately trained or inexperienced handler presents a significant threat to public safety.”

Continuing that theme, Ward observed: “If and when that moment occurs, and somebody’s seriously injured or killed by an inadequately trained animal, it will be the entire security industry that shares the blame. Security companies that strive to provide the highest level of service and safety, using the best trained animals and handlers, and who themselves have invested in achieving at least BS 8517-1:2016 will, unfortunately, count the costs of reputational damage.”

In conclusion, Ward informed Risk UK: “Current legislation such as the Guard Dogs Act 1975, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the latest Animal Control Bill 2015 is in place. However, there’s an obvious missing piece of the legislative jigsaw. We call upon the security industry and organisations that provide guidance and accreditation to prioritise this important issue and to lobby Government for a strengthening of regulations that cover all aspects of security dog services, including training, handling, hire and animal welfare.”

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