Britain’s police are to start trials next year to discover if dogs can help identify criminals

Britain looks set to step up its use of dogs in a trial to discover how effective canines can be in identifying criminals.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has confirmed that several forces will take part in the trial next year.

A spokesman for the association, Peter Shipley, said: “We looked at the experience in other countries in Europe, particularly in The Netherlands, where there have been good results.

“The dogs would not be brought out at identity parades, however. Scent from a crime scene would be put on to a metal bar which the dogs could sniff and then matchthese up with items from suspects.

“We believe that this method would be a useful investigative tool to help police, although not just on its own.”

The move is backed up by scientific research. The Sunday Times reports that research done at Cambridge University showed that dogs could even distinguish between identical twins.

It says their evidence is: “at least as good as fingerprinting and many other methods that are widely relied on.”

Traditionally, police dogs in this country are used for enforcing public order, chasing criminals and sniffing out explosive and guns.