Dogs from Downpatrick helping police forces around the world

Downpatrick company ACT Detection Dogs is to supply its specially trained dogs to police forces in Singapore and Italy, in lucrative six-figure deals, following support from Invest Northern Ireland.

ACT Detection Dogs supplies Labrador Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels and Cocker Spaniels for the detection of a range of materials. The dogs are all bred from proven pedigree working dog bloodlines from across the UK and can be trained to detect items including counterfeit DVDs, money, firearms and drugs.

ACT has invested almost £125,000 to increase its export marketing activities, recruiting additional management support and developing its dog training facilities. This enabled the company to boost its online presence, produce publicity material and arrange visits from international police force representatives and other potential customers to see their dogs before buying.

Christopher Hanlon of ACT believes the market opportunities are significant: “Police and security forces around the world face continual problems with firearms, narcotics and smuggling. To counter this and protect the public, they are increasingly making use of dogs’ powerful sense of smell to detect a wide range of contraband and dangerous materials.

“The breeds we work with have an unparalleled detection ability and can be trained to identify virtually anything that emits a scent. With Invest NI’s help, we have been able to raise awareness of our highly skilled dogs in lucrative markets across Europe and the Far East. Combined with the extensive experience of our team and our commitment to creating a unique training environment, these international deals will be a springboard for further success.”

Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office in Newry, said: “ACT Detection Dogs is achieving rapid success abroad by supplying a premium product to targeted markets where demand is high. The experience of the management team in training dogs here in Northern Ireland gives the company a unique edge over its competitors and its reputation is growing as it trains and supplies more dogs. The company is now well placed to build on its export success to date.”