Dickson Laboratory Hosts Police Scotland Dog Branch Exercise
Jennifer Miller, principal scientist at Dickson Laboratory, visited the Police Scotland National Dog Training Centre last week to give input on the role of bio-archaeology in Police searches. Following this visit, the Victim Recovery dogs and handlers on the course visited the laboratory to see what the team there do.
At the laboratory there is a cemetery of roadkill (for the zoo-archaeology reference collection). The location of the remains in the cemetery is roughly known but over the past few years the ground has been altered and the some of the staff that buried the animals have moved on, so the exact location of the remains were unknown.
This gave the dogs and their handlers an excellent opportunity for a training exercise. The handlers marked out and spiked the ground at 30cm intervals, then ran the dogs over the area. The purpose of this is so that the dogs sniff each hole and identify where the remains are located below the ground. In the exercise both dogs identified the same location and no others. The team at the laboratory then dug up the area identified by the dogs and confirmed the presence of the buried remains.
The images shown here and in the forensic image gallery in the specialist services section are those of Police Scotland National Dog Training Centre, except Harry. Harry is the Dickson Laboratory Border Terrier and is a member of staff who was there to supervise the proceedings only.