CUTS to police dog units have been criticised.
Planned cuts of 15 officers – in a bid to save about £368,000 – were revealed back in January.
Now cuts to the unit, run by Thames Valley and Hampshire police forces, have sparked a backlash.
Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter, who represents rank-and-file officers, said: ‘Police dogs are an essential part of policing, we should not underestimate the impact any reduction will have on our ability to fight crime.
‘Police dogs and their handlers provide critical support in many areas such as firearms situations, public order, searching for people and property and much more. The list goes on and on.
‘To reduce police dog numbers is short-sighted and I would urge both chief constables to stop and think before it’s too late.
‘If anything we need to increase our police dogs not reduce the ones we have.’
The unit is consulting with officers over a move to a ‘new model’, TVP said in a statement.
Hampshire police said it was agreed in December there would be a reduction in the unit.
Hampshire chief constable Olivia Pinkney said that reductions should be achieved on the basis of natural attrition, a spokeswoman said.