This informative book traces the colourful history of the deployment of dogs by the RAF Police over the last 60 years, during which time this branch of the Royal Air Force has earned a glowing reputation at home and abroad for the high standard of training exhibited by its dog teams and for its highly professional use of dogs for patrols and specialist duties.
The story began in 1942, at the height of World War II, when Lieutenant Colonel Baldwin formed the Ministry of Aircraft Production Guard Dog School (MAPGDS) at Woodfold near Gloucester, turning out professionally trained RAF dogs and dog handlers, which released hundreds of men for war duties who had previously been employed as guards. In 1944 the MAPGDS was absorbed by the RAF Police and re-titled the RAF Police Dog Training School and from that point onwards, the Royal Air Force Police was to be at the forefront of the development and training of dogs for security purposes.
In 1949 the RAF Police Dog Demonstration Team appeared for the first time at the Royal Tournament in London and became an instant public success. In 1957 the first annual RAF Police Dog Championship Trials were held at Netheravon and in 1969 the Dog Demonstration Team covered 8,000 miles around the USA and Canada, giving 65 public performances in 23 cities, becoming a firm favourite at every venue.
The RAF began training dogs to detect illicit drugs in 1970 and since 1971 RAF Police dogs on loan to HM Customs & Excise have recovered illicit drugs worth many millions of pounds and are a significant deterrent to smugglers. Dogs were later successfully trained to detect firearms and explosives.
Written by Stephen R Davis, who served with the RAF Police for 25 years, this enjoyable book looks in detail at the development of the special relationship between the RAF Police and their dogs. Illustrated with many photographs, and enlivened by many first-hand accounts from former dog handlers, it is certain to be of great interest to those who served in the RAF Police, but there is also much to be enjoyed by anyone with a general interest in dogs or in their training and deployment for security purposes.