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Two-legged and four-legged Northamptonshire Police officers came together at Force Headquarters today (February 28) to celebrate the work of the Northamptonshire Police Dog Section and remember those who have died whilst in active service.
Eight of the Force’s general purpose and specialist search police dogs and their handlers attended the event to cheer – or bark – on their colleagues.
PD4 Mac, PD3 Olly, PD11 Socks, PD7 Kez, TPD Alfie, TPD Milo, TPD Ebby and TPD Bryn all attended alongside their handlers PC Ian McDonald, PC Sam Clark, PC Steve Thorpe, PC Ash Price, PC Lucy Sculthorpe and PC Benjamin Rowell.
To open the event, Paul Nicholls QPM presented two K9 Memorial Medals – the first to PC Lucy Sculthorpe for retired PD2 Harper, who left the Force in November 2019 as a result of developing bicep tendonitis, an injury which would have been worsened by continuing to ask her to work.
The second medal was for PD Billy, who was a specialist cash, drugs and firearms dog who sadly passed away in November 2018 as a result of cancer. His award was presented to PC Ian McDonald in recognition of his valued service at Northamptonshire Police.
Following this, Chief Constable Nick Adderley and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold awarded a cheque to Paul Nicholls QPM, founder of K9 Memorial UK, which will contribute towards the commissioning of a formal K9 memorial and roll of honour in memory of the service of police dogs across the country.
The overall money raised as a result of the sales of the Northamptonshire Police Dog 2020 fundraising calendar reached a fantastic total of more then £3,800, which was split between a donation to K9 Memorial and the full training of a Northamptonshire Police dog. The calendar was launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner to the public in October 2019 and featured the Force’s dogs in action, shining the spotlight on the huge variety of work they do, from supporting armed operations and chasing after criminals to patrolling the Silverstone grand prix.
Money raised from the calendar sales will fund the full training of Alfie, a 14-month-old Springer Spaniel who is preparing to begin his Victim Recovery Course with Northamptonshire Police alongside handler PC Ian McDonald.
As a further commemorative act, a plaque was unveiled within reception at Force Headquarters to formally pay remembrance to each police dog who has retired in the last year, each with a collar tag inscribed with the police dogs name and years of service.
At the unveiling, the names of three former police dogs who have passed during their service were announced: PD Billy (2015-2018), PD Joe (2011-2018) and PD Nesi (2016-2018).
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “The contribution made by the officers and dogs from the Northamptonshire Police dog section is phenomenal. Together they demonstrate the very finest values of British policing and I’m enormously proud of them all.
“Our fundraising calendar showed them at their best, going fearlessly into difficult situations or reassuring the public at high-profile events. I am so pleased that the public supported the calendar so strongly that we have raised this fantastic sum to support the training of TPD Alfie and boost the dog section even further.”
Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “I’m very pleased we are able to take this opportunity to celebrate the invaluable service and sacrifice offered to us by our four-legged colleagues.
“The fantastic sales of the 2020 calendar really go to show how valued our Dog Section is, and demonstrates how respected and supported the police dogs and their handlers are by our community.
“Police dogs are more than service animals at Northamptonshire Police: They are our colleagues and protectors, putting their lives on the line alongside their handlers to fight crime and protect the people of Northamptonshire. Every officer attending today is only too aware of the special bond that exists between handler and police dog, and it is only fitting that our police dogs are formally recognised for their service and commitment to their officer colleagues.
“I look forward to seeing Alfie’s progress through training, and particularly look forward to continuing to hear about the fantastic results of all police dogs serving with Northamptonshire Police.”
In June 2019, Northamptonshire Police marked the formal introduction of Finn’s Law by presenting five police dogs with their own collar, engraved with their name and new collar number, with a vow to assign all current and future serving police dogs with their own unique collar number to rightly recognise them as colleagues and protectors.
To keep up to date with the work of the Force’s Police Dog Section, you can follow them on Twitter via their handle @NorthantsDogs.