SPECIALIST drugs detection dogs are to be used in Hampshire schools as part of a crackdown on illicit substances.

Schools and colleges in Gosport and Fareham will be getting unannounced searches to engage and educate pupils on the dangers of substance misuse as well as performing searches.

The crackdown comes after a standing-room only community meeting in Fareham to discuss the issue of drug related crime in the town centre.

Councillor Seán Woodward ran the meeting and acknowledged the area’s “heroin issue”.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “There is not a large drugs problem in our schools.

“It is however important to protect our children from those who would do them harm to profit from them.

“That is why I welcome this initiative and why we are supporting Cans Hill School particularly with some funding which was requested by the headmistress at my meeting to name a video.”

A total of twelve schools have joined together to take part in the scheme to help prevent drugs misuse in young people.

The schools taking part in the scheme are Bay House School and Sixth Form, Brookfield School, Brune Park School, Cams Hill School, Crofton School, Fareham Academy, Henry Cort Community College, Portchester Community School, The Key Education Centre, Fareham College, St Vincent Sixth Form College, and Lord Wilson Academy.

Gwennan Harrison Jones, headteacher of Cams Hill School, said there is “prolific prevalence of drugs” within the local community, which is leading to the “normalising of drug taking”.

The schools will be visited by the dogs from the Gosport-based the Dog Unit twice a year.

Fareham’s Community Safety Partnership and Hampshire Police are both supporting the initiative.

The scheme follows a similar strategy taking place in the New Forest.

A total of 13 schools in the New Forest area joined together in June last year to develop the ‘drug prevention and substance misuse strategy’.

School bosses said the animals will be deployed mainly as a deterrent.