Rats, they are the new recruits in Dutch police force
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AFP) - The latest species to join Dutch police is hard at work behind the blacked-out windows of a building in Rotterdam: rats learning to sniff out crime and a new forensic future.
Derrick, Thomson and Thompson, Magnum and Poirot, all named after fictional detectives, are being groomed to help police not only keep the streets clean but also save time and money.
"As far as we know we're the first in the world to train rats to be used in police investigations," said Mark Wiebes, who heads the Dutch police "innovation" centre.
Each rat costs just 10 euros (S$17) and can, in theory, be taught to identify any odour, from drugs to gunpowder, while a sniffer dog costs tens of thousands of euros to buy and train.