Sergeant Dog Handler

Job Family Operational Support
Job Sub Family Specialists Operations
Code OPS-SPO-TL-Sgt Dog Handler V1.0

Role Purpose

Sergeant Dog Handlers supervise and manage the performance of a Dog Unit team. They co-ordinate the dog unit’s provision of proactive and reactive support to operational officers and specialist departments through the appropriate deployment of police dogs; to locate and retrieve evidence or offenders, to control potential and actual disturbances, and to enhance officer and public safety.
In addition to their supervisory role, a Sergeant Dog Handler also acts as a Specialist Dog Handler.

Key Accountabilities

• Coordinate the operational deployment of general and specialist police dogs, including; supplying professional expertise and tactical advice to front line officers.

• Manage any threats of risk or harm appropriately to minimise the impact and risk of harm to Police Officers, Staff and members of the public.

• Monitor and manage the performance of a dog unit, devising and implementing effective strategies to identify issues and improve team/individual performance to ensure adherence to professional standards and contribute to the achievement of unit/Force objectives.

• Develop effective working relationships with front line colleagues and partner agencies such as the NCA, Military and Border Agency; ensure awareness of resources provided by the dog unit, to provide specialist advice and guidance in the planning and delivery of local and regional events and initiatives.

• Promote the roles and skills of police dog units to colleagues and members of the public to ensure effective deployment and engagement with both colleagues and the general public.

• Provide specialist advice to colleagues concerning dangerous dogs and dog legislation to support policing operations.

• Supervise a team of Dog Handlers managing their welfare and development, and ensuring high levels of motivation to enable an effective front line policing service.

• Oversee the proper care, training and handling of operational general purpose and specialist police dogs, to ensure their health, wellbeing and operational effectiveness.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Prior education and experience:
• Typically, Sergeants will have achieved a Level 4 Certificate in Police First Line Management.

• Substantive Sergeants will have met the promotion requirements as defined in the National Police Promotion Framework (NPPF).

• Completed General Purpose Dog Handling Course (If required).

• Completed Specialist Dog Handling Course.

• Meet force specific fitness requirement.

• Strong communication skills with the ability to set out logical arguments clearly, adapting language, form and message to meet the needs of different people/audiences.

• Able to develop and motivate a team and create strong engagement of individuals with their personal and team objectives and with force values, behaviours and strategic priorities.

• Able to review and assess own, individual and team performance against expected standards, providing objective and effective feedback and ensuring corrective actions are taken where necessary.

• Able to coach and mentor junior colleagues to enable appropriate career and professional development.

• Able to plan ahead and allocate work appropriately within the team.

• Able to identify key stakeholders, understand potential roles and to take appropriate steps to understand their needs and concerns and develop excellent working relationships.

• Problem solving skills with the ability to identify cause and effect and develop a course of action, drawing on evidence base, designed to target root causes, mitigate risks and manage impacts.

• Able to critically question and identify potential opportunities to enhance efficiency and/or effectiveness across own team.

• Able to identify, analyse, and manage risk to inform balanced, proportionate evidenced-based decisions.

• Able to manage the introduction of new processes or ways of working at team level.

• Skilled in using specialised software related to own area of work to extract, analyse, plan and report on data.

• Able to develop and maintain professional resilience in oneself and others in dealing with complex and challenging situations.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

• Maintain knowledge and understanding of College of Policing guidance, best practice and any local policy applicable to the operational police context and leading and managing Dog Handler teams.

• Maintain and update key knowledge, understanding and skills relating to legislation policy and practice in relation to the Dog Handler function and area of policing operational responsibility.

• Maintain knowledge and understanding of new approaches identified by evidence based policing research relating to the Dog Handler function, including problem solving and team working, and synthesise these into working practice(s).

• Maintain a working knowledge and understanding of new and evolving crime threats and priorities that impact upon the role of Dog Handling teams; and current best practice to tackle these in order to enable a pro-active and preventative approach.

• Complete all annual and mandatory training including for example, fitness tests, personal safety training, first aid, and protecting information.

Professional Registration/Licenses

• NPCC General Purpose Licence
• NPCC Licence for Specialist Dogs

Links to other Profiles

• Dog Handler

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