The former Babergh District Council offices on Corks Lane in Hadleigh have temporary occupants: Suffolk Police dogs in training.
The offices in Hadleigh, which Babergh District Council vacated in November last year, are now in use to train police dogs for Suffolk Police.
Suffolk Police’s Dog Section trains general purpose dogs (German shepherds) as well as specialist dogs (spaniels and Labradors) in both outdoor and indoor environments. The former offices in Hadleigh offer an ideal opportunity to train these dogs in an office environment in which the dogs can train in tracking down people, drugs, explosive training aids, cash, ammunition or firearms.
On Monday 12 March the first dogs were brought to the former offices to train. Jazz, a black Labrador, was the first to explore the building and find drugs hidden by PC Tony Russell, followed by Zuma, a Springer Spaniel who also hunted down the hidden drugs, and Jukie, a German Shepherd who searched the building for PC Russell under the supervision of PC Peter Pitts. Photographs of their training are available on the council's Flickr account.
Police dogs undergo a rigorous 13 week training programme when first learning their role, followed by regular training sessions until they retire.
The training is an interim measure while the long-term future of the site is secured. As part of the training Suffolk Police could arrive at the offices at any time of day or night to allow the trainee dogs to get used to the unpredictable schedule of police work.
Residents who see police vehicles attending the site at odd hours should not be alarmed as this is part of the training. The former offices in Hadleigh are also protected by 24/7 security to ensure there is no misuse of the site. All equipment used in the training of the dogs is brought to the site by Suffolk Police, and removed again when the dogs leave.
The use of the site is being provided to Suffolk Police by Babergh District Council at no cost, in the interests of making the best use of the public sector estate in the county for Suffolk residents.
Cllr Nick Ridley, Babergh District Council’s Cabinet Member for Assets and Investment, said: “This temporary use of the Corks Lane offices for Suffolk Police dog training is great news: they are an important site in Hadleigh, and we are working hard to ensure their future as a key location in the town, but in the interim it is wonderful to see them in use for the public good. PC Tony Russell and his team encounter all kinds of circumstances in their role, and if our former offices can help them prepare we are delighted to make them available.
“This is an interim measure, and we will be updating residents shortly on what comes next at the site.”
PC Tony Russell from the Dog Section said: “We’re very grateful for the kind and generous offer of the use of the premises by Babergh District Council by our dog unit. It will provide us with a valuable location where we can continue to train our dogs and we look forward to using the site in the weeks and months ahead.”