Rotterdam police are hoping to become the first in the world to use rats to investigate shooting incidents because specially-trained sniffer rodents can be used to identify gunpowder traces, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.
Five rats are currently being trained in Rotterdam – named after famous detectives Derrick, Magnum, Poirot and Johnson & Johnston. The experiment is proving so successful, the rats are set to be used in the field.
‘You can use rats for detection by smell,’ trainer Monique Hamerslag told the Volkskrant. ‘Think about drugs, money, bodies, blood, fire accelerants and explosives.’
Hamerslag came across rats being used to locate landmines while travelling in Africa and realised they could also be used by the police.
They are lighter and have a stronger sense of smell than dogs. They are also cheap, can be trained in a couple months and don’t cost much to look after, the paper said.
The rats will be used by police to identify people who have used guns immediately after shooting incidents, police spokesman Marc Wiebes told Nos television.