In an interview recorded at Crufts 2024, we hear about P.D. Ted, a ten year old sprocker spaniel and highly experienced explosive detection (“explo”) dog (also known as a “bomb” dog) who has been operational since November 2015.

Ted the sprockerdore looks at the camera. He is brown and wears a remembrance poppy on his collar.
Police Dog Ted travels all over the country with his handler for large public events

P.D. Ted’s handler, P.C. Damo Smart has spent over two decades as a dog handler and instructor.

Damo was part of the display team in the Crufts arena with dozens of police colleagues and dogs. Performance over, he joined Dogs with Jobs presenter, Kate Fairweather for a cuppa and a chat in the press room at Crufts, to talk about P.D. Ted, and the working life of an explo dog.

Damo explains the bigger picture, and how dogs like Ted fit into the overall framework and canine resources of a large urban police service. The West Midlands Police Service is one of the largest urban police forces in the UK, and even has its own breeding scheme, so this is on a grand scale.

P.C. Damian Smart looks at the camera. he is standing on Millenium Bridge in London and holds Police Dog Ted in his arms. Ted looks at hte camera
Travel is all part of the deal for an Explo detection dog like Ted, who travelled with Damo to police the Queen’s Funeral in 2023.

Explosives detection is a highly specialised discipline. Damo explains what he looks for in an explo dog and what it takes to search at this level – and to search safely.  

In practical terms, explo dogs, are available as a resource (and therefore on call) 24/7. They are often required to travel away from home for big sports events such as the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and royal occasions, as part of the job.  Damo explains why it takes a certain attitude to work these dogs, given the high stakes involved.  So a steady attitude and the ability to switch off and relax once the work is over is key.