Dutch police to use dogs to comfort victims, witnesses during questioning

Rotterdam police use dogs to comfort victims in questioning
Rotterdam police use dogs to comfort victims in questioning. (Photo: Politie Rotterdam / Facebook)

The Rotterdam police is launching an experiment next month in using two service dogs to comfort victims or witnesses of serious crimes, such as sex offenses, while they are being questioned by the police, ANP reports.

Twix and Kyara are the two Polish lowland shepherds who will soon be comforting victims, should they want it. "For solace and to take the sharp edge off", the police said on Wednesday. "Five to twenty minutes with a dog relieves stress", a police spokesperson said to ANP. 

The experiment wil run until August next year. Twix and Kyara will be used in 20 cases, and not used in 20 others to make a scientific comparison possible. Avans College is leading the investigation.

The idea came from project leader Arno de Bruijn. "During my work I regularly encounter situations that are very stressful for victims. When I privately observed that the presence of a dog really helped someone cope with a stressful situation, the idea arose to use this. I looked for and found many scientific studies that supported my idea on the internet." he said in a statement on the police site.

The two dogs have been "employed" by the police for about three weeks, and have been living with their new owners for that same time. "We hope to be able to use them in questionings from June 1st. But first they have to get used to their new home, new owners and new workplace. And a lot of training. Just like real police officers", De Bruijn said.