Clapham’s canine cops! Meet the friendly four-legged fuzz keeping south west London safe

The safety of south west London has been in the paws of some very important members of the Met Police this September.

Around 35 officers gathered at Clapham Common tube station accompanied by three enthusiastic Labradors who were garnering plenty of attention from passers-by last Thursday.

A woman bent down to stroke one of the dogs after she passed through the ticket barriers, only to be firmly told ‘please don’t touch the dogs, just keep on walking’.

The pups weren’t there to make friends, they were at work on important business.

The Clapham Common Neighbourhood Policing team are focusing on Operation Zarina this month, a project targeting crime in Clapham and Brixton.

The Met Police and British Transport Police have been working together to reduce crime in these areas, with crucial assistance from their canine companions.

DOGGED DETERMINATION: Wilf and Rammer are ready for work

Police Dogs Alfie, Wilf and Rammer are just three of the dogs involved in Operation Zarina, sniffing out illegal drugs, explosives, weapons and narcotics.

The three Labradors sniffed out 97 indications of drugs last Thursday evening alone, leading to the arrest of two males for illegal possession of knives.

“The operation is led by local neighbourhood teams to tackle antisocial behaviour, gang activity and drug crimes,” said Sergeant Fash Mohammadi of the Met police.

“Keeping the area safe is our priority.”

ATTENTION: Police dog Alfie awaits instruction

Sgt Mohammadi explained how Labradors are frequently out on duty with the officers due to their friendly and patient approach to these operations.

“It is essential that we work alongside friendly dogs who are confident and patiently persevere when we might show indecision, which the labs are really great at,” said Sgt Mohammadi.

The copper canines also display the most common trait of a Labrador, which is an unrelenting loyalty.

ON THE BEAT: Police dog Rammer on post in Clapham

“They are obedient and always keen to help, whilst remaining friendly and passive, meaning members of the public feel comfortable around them,” said Sgt Mohammadi.

“When we carry out recovery operations in raids for things like weapons and illegal substances, we tend to use spaniels as they are incredibly agile and quick.”

As a result of the excellent work performed by the police dogs, September alone has seen Operation Zarina result in more than 100 stop searches, 50 arrests, 30 cannabis warnings, 30 dispersals, seven warrants and three vehicle seizures.

A police dog located and cornered two males who were hiding in a garden shed, both wanted after being linked to a number of burglaries in Wandsworth and Lambeth.

POSER: Police dog Monty gives his best grin for the camera

Following their arrest, more than 80 items were recovered, including three stolen motorcycles and the keys to a stolen car.

The hard work from the four-legged detectives has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of reported burglaries in the area.

Operation Zarina has seen great success, but Sgt Mohammadi was keen to emphasise that residents shouldn’t be concerned.

He said: “The great thing about Wandsworth and Lambeth is that 90% of response is positive with no need for prosecution or arrest, and the general public are very cooperative.

“They are crucial members of our team, and their devotion does not go unrewarded. They are excellent colleagues!”

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