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SRS in Surrey: A Case Study on the Use of Security Dogs in Residential Patrol in a Private Estate

With increasing cuts to police numbers in recent years, many private citizens have felt compelled to seek other means to protect their property. In August 2018, it was revealed that the previous three years had seen a staggering 7,000-strong drop in police numbers, putting a considerable strain on the remaining police officers to shoulder the burden of law enforcement.

In March 2018, reports showed the effects of this burden when it came to light that in some areas of the country, police were taking 15 hours to respond to urgent 999 calls. It is therefore little wonder that many feel they cannot rely on the police, so seek alternative means of securing their private possessions.

Among those who felt this way were the residents of a particular road in Surrey, who had been suffering from multiple burglary attacks before Security Risk Specialists stepped in to help. The road in question, one of the most prestigious in Surrey, backs onto a wood which forms part of the local common. It was through these woods that burglars were able to approach the residential houses unseen. These burglars had been able to get away with small possessions, such as jewellery and watches, as well as larger possessions including a car. Needless to say, this caused much distress and inconvenience to the residents.

Security Risk Specialists devised a holistic approach to tackle every aspect of this street’s burglary problem. Our security guards are trained in Krav Maga, a physical defense system used by the Israeli army which more than equips them to tackle every assailant. In this instance we recognised the need to go further than simple manned guarding, in response to the calibre of the houses being protected, and the thieves’ sophistication in their previous attempts. We therefore deployed our dog unit, formed of German Shepherds supervised by highly skilled trainers, which together form a formidable pair equipped to deter criminals as well as detect them. The active and vigilant nature of the German Shepherd breed means they are excellent guard dogs, and in the past our unit has proved successful in preventing criminals from breaking and entering. The secret behind their success is that our dogs have been trained by the same handlers since they were only a few months old, so have formed strong bonds allowing them to act as one unit. Their keen sense of smell, sharp ears and energetic personalities make them excellent at detecting intruders even at a distance. In addition, most of our guards have been trained to meet the standards of The National Association of Security Dog Users, which works to promote the welfare and training of dogs used within the security sector. The combination of highly trained German Shepherds and their highly skilled handlers means our dog unit is the greatest possible deterrent, given that UK law does not allow private security companies to carry firearms.

In line with our aim to provide a holistic solution to security problems, we went further still and devised a strategy which would reduce the change of another burglary. Since the thieves relied on the cover of darkness to make their escape, one of our priorities was to minimise this darkness and thereby minimise the opportunity to approach the houses unseen. In response to this, we deployed the yellow strobe on our SRS car, which, much like our dog unit, is effective both in deterring and detecting criminals. As the strobe light is on a moving rather than a fixed unit, its location is unpredictable to the thieves meaning it cannot be easily identified and avoided. The deterrent effect of strong lighting has long been known, and we were able to capitalise on it in this instance. Ensuring our clients’ peace of mind is at the top of our agenda, and for this reason we also offer the following service: our clients can call our guards when they are about to arrive home, and be accompanied from their cars to their front doors at a moment’s notice.

We are proud that our approach has thus far been successful: whilst the road in Surrey had suffered from 9 burglaries in the previous 12 months, there have been none at all in the 3 months since we started guarding it. But our success in reducing crime is not our only target. In line with our policy of maximal security with minimal disruption, we also aim to integrate ourselves into the community and make our presence as discrete as possible. For that reason, we only choose the most customer-service oriented dog handlers, who have been briefed to recognise the needs of each individual community. Our security guards are our greatest asset and we are proud of the success they have achieved in Surrey.

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