Prestigious award presented at Crufts for life savers PD Harper and PC Sculthorpe
Main article content
Northamptonshire Police dog PD Harper and handler PC Lucy Sculthorpe were presented with the prestigious Police Dog Team Operational and Humanitarian Action of the Year Award at Crufts for their quick-thinking and life-saving actions.
Lucy and Harper, who has now retired from active duty, reunited and were presented with their well-deserved award at the world-famous canine event in Birmingham NEC yesterday, Sunday March 8.
In the early hours of an August morning last year, the pair attended a report of a vulnerable missing person in a rural area of Northamptonshire. They persisted in searching a large area with Lucy relying entirely on Harper in the pitch dark and over difficult terrain. Harper picked up a scent and led Lucy to the person whose life was at risk.
“I had her on a tracking line which is about 25-foot long, and allows her to roam,’ said Lucy. ‘About 50 yards further on I heard a choking sound, as did Harper. I then issued the “Find Him” order and a short distance away she found a man in his 30s who was hanging from a metal railing using a T shirt.”
Lucy said: “Harper seemed to know the urgency of the situation and led me to the person quickly and calmly, she didn’t bark and it was as if she knew they needed help and was not a threat, she stayed laying down when I told her to and remained still while I tried to help them.”
“It must have just happened as he was purple, but still showing signs of life. I managed to cut him down and check his airway was clear before calling colleagues to come and help. Thankfully he made a full recovery.”
Sergeant Chris Monday from Northamptonshire Police’s Force Dog Section nominated Lucy and Harper for the award, stating: “Without the assistance of you and PD Harper the missing person would have certainly died.”
Assistant Chief Constable Pauline Sturman also said to the pair: “That is a significant achievement and one you should rightly be proud of. It highlights both the skill and professionalism you have within your role and is an excellent example of what your operational skills can achieve.”
This isn’t Harper’s first prestigious award – she also received the K9 Memorial medal in February following her retirement at the end of last year.
Sadly she had developed an injury, bicep tendonitis, which could have been worsened by active service. She joined in 2017 and was involved in everything from finding criminals to managing public order, tracking down criminals and, in this case, helping to find a vulnerable missing person.
On Harper’s retirement, Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “Thank you for your service PD Harper. You will be missed but will always be a part of our policing family.”
Lucy said: “Harper was my first police dog, she is a sassy, cheeky character but I never felt safer at work than when I had her next to me. It is a shame she had to retire through injury at the peak of her working life but she is very happy in her new home in Derbyshire with another dog to play with and seems be enjoying the relaxed life!”