Police dogs on patrol to curb drug dealers in Paisley

POLICE took sniffer dogs on patrol in Paisley town centre at the weekend in a bid to collar drug dealers.

Heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs cause misery for hundreds of families across Renfrewshire and cops have launched a clampdown in a bid to rid the High Street area of junkies.

Two cops were joined by a specially-trained spaniel and an Alsatian at the weekend as they walked among shoppers and passers-by.

Inspector Caroline Ferguson, who is based at Mill Street police station in Paisley, said: “We are carrying out patrols in the town centre as a result of some of the drug activity and also due to some people gathering at the cenotaph.

“We anticipated that there would have been more people around because of the school holidays, so we wanted to ensure the undesirable element at the cenotaph was encouraged not to hang about there.

“These patrols mean there is more likelihood of a detection but the officers and dogs are also there to reassure the public that we are actively trying to detect drug activity in the town centre.”

Inspector Ferguson said the initiative has been a great success and has led to less drug activity around the town centre.

Paisley police have cemented their tough stance on drugs recently by cracking down on brazen dealers who ply their trade close to innocent shoppers and schoolchildren.

Officers detained a number of people last month during a town centre purge on drug dealing, which was sparked by complaints from shoppers and traders.

John Wilby, chairman of Paisley West and Central Community Council, has welcomed the presence of the sniffer dogs and their police handlers in the town centre.

He said: “We welcome any initiative to diminish the drug problem in Paisley. The patrols are very welcome.

“I think the town’s drug problem is something which concerns Paisley people in general. It is a particular worry around the shopping area, which is very busy.”

The headquarters of the Strathclyde Police Dog Branch is at Pollok Country Park, in Glasgow.

All drugs-search dogs are trained there to search open ground, commercial buildings, vehicles and private houses for various illegal drugs.

They are also skilled in the method of ‘drugs scanning,’ which involves the dog and handler searching large groups of people within queues, premises or vehicles. When the dog detects the scent of drugs, it indicates to the handler by sitting quietly beside the person involved.

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