Transfer of Police Qualifications to Civilian Fact Sheet


The following guidance for the transfer of UK Police dog handler qualifications into civilian security dog handler qualifications has been developed by NASDU in conjunction with both serving and retired Police instructors.

These nationally recognised civilian qualifications at Levels 2, 3 & 4 aim to provide the Police dog handler with the basic skills, knowledge and understanding required to ensure the provision of a professional level of service as a civilian Security/Detection Dog Team.

These qualifications (endorsed by HABC) have been developed by NASDU to meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS’s) for a Security Detection Dog Handler as well as the training requirements contained within BS 8517:2016 Parts 1 and 2, (in that) it is an assessment of the handler’s ability to be deployed as a Team and to meet the required performance criteria.

For whom suitable

These programmes meet the requirements of those qualified handlers from UK Police authorities (either currently serving or retired) who wish to transfer their Police qualifications into civilian qualifications.

Awarding Body

HABC – All NASDU qualifications are externally endorsed by Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) who is a recognised and regulated awarding organisation with OFQUAL, SQA and the SIA.


Levels 2 and 3 for Security Dogs i.e., General Purpose

Levels 3 and 4 for Detection Dogs i.e., Drug and Explosive Detection

Course Duration/Recognition of Prior Learning

Each Police qualification has been mapped against its equivalent civilian qualification for the transfer of recognition of prior learning (RPL) for which a minimum number of additional Guided Learning Hours (GLH’s) have been identified to ensure understanding of civilian requirements.

These additional hours would be of sufficient duration to ensure competency in each chosen discipline (see Schedule 3).

GLH’s are recorded hours of direct training, structured learning and assessment given to an individual learner by their tutor and not the duration of a course.

Programme Structure

The programme is flexible with a mixture of theory and practical tuition and is made up of a number of units and pathways all of which are compulsory (see Content).

Prior Learning

All learners should hold an appropriate SIA licence (unless exempt).andling Hand

The dog should be of an acceptable breed and above 12 months old, possess the suitable drives required for its role and have had basic obedience training.

Dogs previously schooled in other disciplines must be identified to the Instructor/Trainer prior to commencement of training; Explosive Detection Dogs must not have been schooled in any other scent discipline.


Course assessment shall be carried out by an Approved NASDU Instructor/Trainer, the mode of assessment shall be by practical on-going assessment by question and answer sessions and by written examination(s).

Final End Point Assessment (EPA) for Level 3 and 4 Detection Dog qualifications regarding the safe systematic search and the positive indication of target scents shall be carried out by a suitably qualified (i.e. ACPO/DAC) external assessor who does not have an interest in the learner achieving and who has not been involved in the learners training.

Quality Assurance

Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) shall be carried out by NASDU, with external endorsement of the learning provision and External Quality Support (EQS) carried out by HABC.


The successful learner can proceed onto a variety of security/detection dog work within the private security dog sector or into dog training.


Handlers who achieve with their dog shall receive 2 certificates.

  • HABC Certificate – endorsement of learning programme shall be for the handler (lifetime achievement)
  • NASDU Certificate – assessment of competency shall be as a Team i.e., Handler & Dog (12 month expiry)


The full content of each learning programme discipline is detailed in the following Fact Sheets available on our website:

  • Level 2 – Security Dog Handler

Pathway:     General Purpose Security Dog

  • Level 3 – Security Dog Handler

Pathway:     General Purpose Security Dog

  • Level 3 – Detection Dog Handler

Pathway:     Passive Drug Detection Dog

Proactive Drug Detection Dog

  • Level 4 – Detection Dog Handler

Pathway:     Explosive Detection Dog

Details of RPL and additional GLH’s to transfer Police qualifications is contained in the attached Schedule 3.

Course Fees, Location & Dates

Learners interested in transferring their Police qualifications should contact either:

One of NASDU’s Approved Instructors/Trainers

  • Full details of all NASDU Approved Instructors/Trainers are listed on our website by region:


Further information regarding these transfer courses can also be obtained from NASDU Head Office.


Schedule 3










Police Dog Handler (General Purpose)

Level 3 General Purpose

Level 2 Only







Drugs Detection Dog Handler (Passive) Level 3 DDD (Passive) 100 85 15
Drugs Detection Dog Handler (Proactive) Level DDD (Proactive) 100 85 15
Explosive Detection Dog Handler Level 4 EDD 150 135 15


Evidence Requirements

Evidence to support the transfer of any of the above Police qualifications shall be by the production of a handler certificate for each specific discipline they wish to use as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

In the absence of either of the above the learner will be required to undertake the full qualification Guided Learning Hours (GLH’s).

The above Guided Learning Hours are issued as guidance and are the minimum hours to achieve the qualification, the total number of hours would be of sufficient duration to ensure competency in each chosen discipline.

Telephone No: 01483 224320 – Option 2


Administration Office (Certification & Membership Enquiries)

Tel: 01483 224 320 (Option 1)

Head Office (Centre Approval Enquiries)

Tel: 01483 224 320 (Option 2)