West Midlands Police Service has added 21 Skoda Octavia Estates to its fleet for use by police dog handlers.
The vehicles will be used to transport general purpose police dogs, as well as trained drugs-search and explosives-detection dogs.
Each vehicle has to go through a police vehicle conversion service, which ensures the interior is fitted with bespoke features to keep the dogs safe and comfortable.
Engineering Vehicle Options (EVO), specialises in this type of vehicle conversion and has fitted the 21 Skoda Octavia Estates with features such as climate control in the rear cabin.
A three-kennel configuration has also been introduced for the first time.
Other features include a kennel drainage system, acoustic laminate glass, colour-coded roof fan, supply and installation of all public warning equipment, kit storage solutions and safes for seized drugs and ammunition.
Martin Clohisey, managing director for EVO, commented: “Our standard features now include green air climate control, which operates independently utilising an auxiliary battery, so the engine doesn’t need to be running to keep the kennels cool.
"Furthermore, the system links a pager to the thermostat inside the car, which automatically pages the handler if the temperature rises too high - a huge step forward for animal welfare.”
Gary Mallett, vehicle operations manager for the West Midlands Police Service, added: “The Skoda Octavia is excellent quality and by far the best dog vehicle we’ve had. They are reliable and efficient and have shown impressive resilience under very demanding conditions.”