An American ‘justice dog’ is helping help vulnerable people navigate the criminal justice system in Derbyshire.
Oliver, a Labrador retriever, is the first dog in Europe to help vulnerable people within the criminal justice system.
Originally from Missouri in the USA, Oliver will be working with officers and detectives as they interview victims and witnesses over the next two weeks.
The pilot scheme, run by Canterbury Christchurch University and Kent Police, is researching how using a trained dog can mean a less traumatic experience for victims.
Oliver has helped victims and witnesses in Kent, and Derbyshire is his first trip out to show how dogs like him can help vulnerable people.
His breeding and training have equipped him with the skills to provide quiet companionship and support people during their journey through the criminal justice, including the investigation and prosecution of crimes.
Derbyshire’s Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “We are very lucky to have Oliver with us for this trial. The additional support he can give to the victims and witnesses that we work with on a daily basis is amazing to see. When victims talk about their experiences in an interview situation, it can be traumatic and difficult for them to open up.
“Sometimes, however, this is the only form of evidence available to us and we need to maximise its potential.
“He is a very clever dog that can really help to put vulnerable people at ease, and making this process easier for people really is what we are trying to achieve with having him with us.”