Retired police dogs receive medals for their service
PUBLISHED: 18:00 20 January 2020
An award ceremony to acknowledge the contribution of retired police dogs was held in Clevedon last week.
At the event, supported by the National K9 Memorial, dogs that had completed a full service with Avon and Somerset Police in general purpose patrol, firearms support and specialist searches in explosives and drug detection were presented with medals for their service.
Pooches Aden, Baz, Diesel, Hugh, Ollie, Paddy Quanto, Solo and Billy were presented with medals at the Wilfred Fuller VC Operational Centre by deputy chief constable Sarah Crew.
Police dogs that could not attend for health reasons or had passed away since their police careers were also recognised during the ceremony.
Life-saving searches and finds of missing and vulnerable people to events of national importance such as the 2012 Olympics, as well as the detection of major hauls of drugs, cash and firearms and the apprehension of machete or gun-wielding criminals, were also highlighted.
The event was one of the first of its kind in the UK but is planned to be an annual occasion and potentially rolled out to other forces.
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Shield was presented to serving PD Bandit and his handler PC Lee Fairman for their outstanding teamwork in 2019, which included numerous finds of money, drugs and firearms.
The ceremony was also attended by some of the families who live with or have adopted retired police dogs, as well as the kennel staff and vets who look after the police dogs' welfare during their careers, the puppy walkers who support the dogs in their early years and the RSPCA West Hatch and Buddy's Rural Animal Rescue charity, both of whom provide rescue dogs for service.
Chief dog instructor for Avon and Somerset Police, sergeant Denis McCoy, said: "It's fantastic to be working with the National K9 Memorial to recognise the outstanding contribution our police dogs make in protecting and serving the communities of Avon and Somerset.
"Our dogs generally start their police service at 12 to 18 months of age, retiring at eight to 10 years, depending on fitness and breed.
"During their careers, they will carry out a range of duties, from locating vulnerable and missing people and detaining violent offenders to dealing with large-scale disorder, and detection of explosives and drugs. They truly are incredible."