VIDEO: Police sniff out a new recruit in rescue dog
WITH his thick-set shoulders and piercing stare, a dog like this is not your typical "sniffer".
But the Staffordshire bull terrier cross has been drooling with excitement as he starts his new job.
About 18 months ago, gentle Kos was a rescue dog being homed by the RSPCA.
Had he not been found a new home, his future would have been uncertain.
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But after being donated to Avon and Somerset police, under the expert training of PC Lee Webb, he is now out on the front-line gathering evidence against criminals.
Kos is the first of his breed to be trained to sniff out drugs, currency and firearms.
On his first day on the job last Friday, he found a lump of heroin in a car stopped in central Bristol.
Bower Ashton-based handler PC Webb said: "Like many breeds, Staffies can be tarnished with a bad reputation, which is unfair.
"But Kos is the gentlest and kindest of dogs. He's always been very playful and he absolutely loves the game of searching."
Now two and a half, Kos is a cross between a Staffordshire bull terrier and a whippet.
The more common breeds for police sniffer dogs are springer spaniels or weimeraners.
But Kos has slotted straight into the team.
"It didn't take any longer to train him than the spaniels we have, and some of those are also rescue dogs," added PC Webb.
"We start them on toys and then train them on the scents, which they come to associate with play. Kos was very excitable on his first day on the job.
"He absolutely loves it."
PC Webb picked up Koz from the RSPCA in West Hatch, Somerset, and the dog now lives at home with Mr Webb and his three other dogs, two of which are spaniels training to be drugs dogs, in North Somerset.
On Wednesday, Kos was involved in Operation Relentless as the police and partners pulled in drivers and inspected their vehicles.
He gave several vans the once-over, trying to sniff out drugs.
Thanking the RSPCA for their support, Mr Webb, who has been a dog handler for ten years, added: "The help the RSPCA and kennel supervisor Sue Hicks down in West Hatch gives us is invaluable.
"As well as helping us out in the dog section, taking on rescue dogs like Kos gives them a decent future as well."
For more information on the force's dog section, visit www.avon andsomerset.police.uk.