Latest police dog recruits graduate with Chief Constable’s honours
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Four of Northamptonshire Police’s latest police dog recruits were celebrated for completing their operational training at a graduation ceremony at FHQ on Thursday (October 29).
German Shepherds Ebi, Koda, Boycie and Bryn were each presented with their own collar, engraved with their name and unique collar number, as well as personalised warrant cards by Chief Constable Nick Adderley and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold.
This ceremony marked the successful completion of their initial handler training, a 13-week course focused on equipping the police dog and their handler with the skills needed for operational policing. The training covers tracking, searching buildings and open spaces for hidden people, searching for discarded property, bite work as well as obedience and agility.
Also attending the graduation was Chief Inspector of Operations, Sara-Louise Parrott, and Force Police Dog Training Instructor, PC Steve Thorpe.
PC Alex Willatt and PD16 Boycie were the first to be awarded, followed by PC Ash Price and PD 12 Ebi, PC Marta Murray with PD 14 Koda, and finally PC Lucy Sculthorpe with PD 163 Bryn.
Once the formalities were over, each dog celebrated their graduation with a personalised dog biscuit, handmade by local Northampton business, JK’s Homemade Dog Treats.
Following the formal introduction of Finn’s Law in June 2019, Northamptonshire Police vowed to issue collar numbers and tags to all of our serving police dogs, which would each be unique and retire with the dog.
The collar numbers are assigned based on the seniority of the dog, however as a commemoration to former PD Bryn and his handler, Ian Churms, current PD Bryn was assigned the number 163, which is the same collar number PC Churms was assigned during his time with the Force.
In 1998, PC Ian Churms and PD Bryn were called to an address in Irthlingborough following an emergency call to police. Ian attempted to negotiate with the offender, who was armed with a hunting rifle, but was shot in the leg. Shortly after, PD Bryn was fatally shot. A 42-year-old woman was also shot. Bryn’s commemorative collar number will stay with him throughout his policing career, and will retire from service when he does.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley welcomed the opportunity to formally recognise the service of the dogs, and said: “Every police officer, special constable and PCSO who joins Northamptonshire Police are celebrated for their success with a passing out parade, and as our colleagues and protectors, it is only right we equally recognise and celebrate the successes of our police dogs.
“The investment into the section is already producing significant results for our communities, and I am committed to ensuring this continues. A number of further handlers and general purpose dogs will be joining the section in coming months, and after having met two of our newest handlers today, I can confidently say the specialist policing service provided by our Dog Section is second to none and are relentless in their pursuits.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “Northamptonshire Police’s dogs and their handlers provide a truly unique policing service to this county. They run towards trouble with unparalleled bravery and loyalty, working hard to protect the public of Northamptonshire.
“They provide a vital service in our ability to fight crime, and I was keen to invest in the dog section – which includes funding the appointment of new recruits and financing the purchase of the latest vehicles - to equip them with the tools needed to continue the fantastic work they are doing.”
PC Steve Thorpe added: “As the Force Training Instructor, I had the privilege of working alongside the handlers and dogs for all or part of their thirteen weeks to develop their team working abilities and prepare them for operational duties.
“The four handlers and dogs who graduated here will be hitting the streets of Northamptonshire and putting their specialist skills to good use in fighting crime and protecting our communities.
“In fact, shortly after Thursday’s ceremony PC Willatt and PD Boycie rushed off to an incident where a firearm had been reported, successfully tracking with support from the firearms officers, they detained the suspect who was found to be in possession of an imitation firearm. Safe to say, I’m confident these crime-fighting duos won’t be wasting any time in bringing in the results!”
To keep up to date with the work of the Northamptonshire Police Dog Section, you can follow them on Twitter at @NorthantsDogs