Dutch police recruit rats to sniff out criminals
The Dutch police are pioneering a new approach to catching criminals, recruiting rats to sniff out crime.
The new recruits, learning that crime really does stink, are called Derrick, Thomson and Thompson, Magnum and Poirot, so they have a rich literary legacy to live up to.
‘Employed’ by the Dutch police innovation centre, their ‘boss’, the police officer in charge of the project, Monique Hamerslag, said she got the idea from the way rats are used in Tanzania to sniff out landmines.
Rats can learn to sniff out any odour, from drugs to explosives. In the future they could even sniff out blood or money to help to move along investigations.
Costing much less than dogs both to keep and to train, rats need only 10 to 15 days to learn to distinguish a certain smell. Tea strainers containing different substances are attached to the cages and when the rat detectives identifies gunpowder, they are rewarded with a ‘click’ sound and a sunflower seed.
Although their olfactory evidence can’t be used in court, Ms Hamerslag said she hoped it would be useful to focus investigations, showing forensics where to search for information about their suspects.
Perhaps surprisingly, given rats’ fearsome reputation, the main disadvantage to using them in investigations is their shyness.
"It's best to bring the smell to the rats and not the other way round," Ms Hamerslag told AFP. "That means we have to take samples and bring them to where the rats live.”
Dogs will therefore stay on at the force as their predatory natures means they are much happier exploring unfamiliar places
- 2 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...
£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IC...
£7200 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education is...