TAMWORTH'S campaign to secure a police dog squad has come to fruition, but there's a catch, the town will have to prove it needs it.
NSW Police Minister Stuart Ayres, along with the head of the dog squad, Superintendent Donna Adney, and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson announced a general duties dog would be stationed in Tamworth for a one- month trial to see how much it was utilised.
The German shepherd and its handler will be on call and rostered on various operations from September 15, a trial which will closely watched by the government and police heads.
"There have been some great results in driving down crime and we think the addition of a dog unit with the support of the results out of that trial will hopefully see us commit to a dog unit over the longer term," Mr Ayres said. When questioned by The Leader why the city had to prove its need for a dog squad, the police hierarchy said it was about deploying resources to the areas where they were needed.
"This is a good place to start. We will continue to provide resources," Mr Ayres said.
Refusing to commit to any concrete plans, the success of the trial won't be purely based on arrests, according to the police minister.
"It'll be a lot about the work the police officers use the dog unit for. It will also be how we can widen the breadth of operations," he said.
"I don't think it will be a numerical assessment, so it won't about the exact number of callouts."
The trial is the start of a nine- month campaign by the community to secure a drug dog to tackle the town's problem with drugs and its impact on other areas of crime.
Crimefighters Barry Bourne and his daughter Renee led the charge securing 5000 signatures on a petition for the unit.
While the community called for a drug dog, Superintendent Adney said a drug dog is limited to drug detections.
She said a the general purpose dog is used for tracking, searching and assisting police with criminal apprehension, and was best suited for the trial.