Two Greater Victoria police departments are combining their police dog units to improve effectiveness across the region.

Victoria Police and Saanich Police are creating a new Integrated Canine Service (ICS) program, which launched on Feb. 1.

The ICS is made up of police dog handlers from both VicPD and the Saanich Police Department, and will be based out of VicPD’s Esquimalt Division headquarters.

The police departments say that the combined team will increase effectiveness while reducing operating costs for both agencies.

The ICS will also ensure that there is full K9 coverage for the region seven days a week.

“This partnership will provide greater efficiency and better value for police canine services for all our communities,” said VicPD chief Del Manak in a release Monday.

“Our goal is to build a safer community together,” he added.

Saanich Police chief Scott Green says his department has a long history of collaborating with other jurisdictions, and believes the new joint team will be an improvement for the region.