WOLVES’ Wolfie can rest easy – the cute canine seen at Molineux Stadium recently isn’t being courted as a replacement mascot!
Instead it’s West Midlands Police sniffer dog Honey who’s been training at Wolves’ ground in preparation for his Olympic assignments starting at the City of Coventry Stadium later this week.
The force’s specialist explosives sniffer dogs will be deployed during the Games, including the Olympic village in London, to ensure the safety of both participants and spectators.
Honey is one of several dogs who will be tasked with security checks before football matches being staged at the Ricoh Arena – and to hone their stadium search skills the three-year-old Spaniel has been using Molineux as a test-drill practice ground.
Dog Training Instructor, PC Wayne Mellings, said: “Clearly with the Olympics now around the corner we must ensure we’re prepared for any eventuality. Over the last six months we’ve been training at high-profile venues to make sure our dogs are familiar with searching stadium environments.
“Wolverhampton Wanderers is a superb venue for us to utilise as a training area for our police search dog capability. We are continually looking for opportunities to engage with local organisations, such as Wolves FC, and strengthen the already excellent relationships that exist.”
Matt Grayson, Head of Marketing and Communications at Wolves, said: “We have a great relationship with West Midlands Police and work closely with them both through our community work and on a match-day.[pullquote_right]Over the last six months we’ve been training at high-profile venues to make sure our dogs are familiar with searching stadium environments”[/pullquote_right]
“Allowing them to use Molineux as a testing ground is just a natural extension of our association with them, so we were more than happy to help.”
The City of Coventry Stadium will host 12 Olympic football matches in total – seven women’s matches and five men – starting on 25 July with Japan’s ladies taking on their Canadian counterparts. Men’s teams from nations such as Japan, Sweden, Mexico and Switzerland will also play matches in Coventry.
PC Mellings added: “Although the training is predominantly based around searching for potential explosive devices, the dogs are also trained to search for narcotics and thus promote venues as drug-free zones.
“The dog unit is always looking for new venues to expand its training options, further develop our dogs and help maximise their potential.”