Police dogs are the most common working dogs in Japan. They are on duty during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Police dogs in Japan were first imported from England in 1912. Prefectural police can train police dogs with government funds. These dogs are classified as ‘direct-control police dogs’, but the number of such dogs is only 10% of 1,400 police dogs nationwide. The remaining 90% are ‘commissioned police dogs’ which are trained at home and dispatched by prefectural police when necessary.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has a total of 36 ‘direct-control police dogs’ including 23 German Shepherds and 13 Labrador Retrievers. They investigate cases involving drugs, marijuana, guns and search for missing persons in the area. There are also prefectures that do not have any direct-control police dogs.’
Police dogs retire at the age of 10. Generally, ‘direct-control dogs’ will be owned and kept by the Police after retirement, but ‘commissioned police dogs’ have to be returned to their homes and receive very little support from the Government. Their welfare is based on donations from charities and dog lovers.
With the ageing population, operations with police dogs surge due to the increasing number of missing dementia elderlies. The Police are considering training more ‘direct-control police dogs’, but they encounter the shortage of trainers and budget. The Police have to rely on ‘commissioned police dogs’.
However, it is not easy to hire ‘commissioned police dogs’, because not many people are qualified to train police dogs.
Police dogs demonstrate their high abilities in investigating the rise in drug crimes, and we expect more abilities from them in the future.
It is time for us to reaffirm that our society is supported by police dogs, and to raise public awareness on the welfare of police dogs.
The World Dog Alliance will continue to support police dogs and give a new thought to the public on relevant issues.
Photo: Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department