First and only NHS drugs search dog helping bring crime down in Wandsworth
1:52pm Thursday 1st November 2012 in News
The first and only drugs search dog for the NHS is helping to bring down use of illegal substances in the borough.
Paddy is working with South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) and the Metropolitan Police to help bring down drug use in hospitals in Wandsworth.
Regular searches using Paddy has brought down incidents of drugs use by 80 per cent in a month within one ward.
Incidents of violence against staff have also dropped to their lowest level in five years, ever since he took up his post in 2010.
It is now hoped Paddy will help other trusts to bring down incidents of drug use.
The dog and his handler, Julie Traynor, were trained by the police and complete regular refresher courses at Keston Dog School.
Maria Huk, director of mental health nursing, said: "Unfortunately illegal drugs are a problem in public spaces all across the country but we have come up with an innovative solution to the problem which we now want to share with other Trusts.
"We have been working with the Metropolitan Police Service to bring in a dedicated search dog for the NHS.
"Together with our highly trained nursing and security staff, Paddy’s become a valuable part of our drugs control strategy."
Julie Traynor, Paddy’s handler, said: "We have seen the benefits that Paddy can bring.
"That’s why we’re making him available for searches at hospitals and NHS organisations throughout London and the surrounding areas.
"Paddy is fully Met-trained and uniquely suited to a hospital environment. We’re hoping he can help keep safe more health workers, service users and families by coming to their trusts too."