Volunteers who report on the welfare of detainees in custody are to carry out welfare checks on Cheshire′s police dogs.
Cheshire Custody Visitors will take over the dog welfare visits from four Police Authority members when the Authority is disbanded in November.
Since 2002 members of the Authority have made regular visits to dog training grounds to check individual animals. They make sure the dogs are happy and fit, have adequate food and water and are not showing signs of stress. They also check the vans used to transport the dogs.
These "lay" visits are additional to routine checks on the dogs by vets and visits to the kennels at the handlers′ homes by the Dog Unit Manager.
The custody visitors call in at Cheshire′s three custody centres and report on the conditions in which detainees are held. They make sure that all the rules in respect of the detainees′ welfare and general care are being observed. They talk to many of the detainees and take up any requests or complaints.
Margaret Ollerenshaw, Chairman of Cheshire Police Authority said, "The dog visits help to ensure welfare standards are maintained. We did not want them to disappear when the Police Authority is replaced by a Police and Crime Commissioner in November. We spoke to the Custody Visitors and a number offered to take on this additional voluntary work.
"Although the circumstances of custody visiting and dog welfare visits are obviously very different, the aim is the same. They both provide an independent check on the well- being of their subjects and a message of reassurance to the community."