Essex: New team of police dogs will give force extra bite

SIX new police dogs will be hitting the streets of Essex after successfully completing their training at Essex Police’s Dog Unit.

On Wednesday, March 30, the German Shepherds and their police officer handlers, ‘passed out’ during a special ceremony at the unit in Sandon, Chelmsford.

Since January the young dogs and their police officer handlers have been learning how to track, search and detain potential suspects in a gruelling 13-week training course led by trainer Pc Terry Collinson.

The teams that passed out are Sgt Tim Sanders with his first dog Abbey, Pc Patrick Lyons with Echo, his third dog, Pc Dave Hawtin and his third dog Monty, Pc Kieran Dale and his fourth dog Niko, Pc Andy Blunt and Marley and Pc Neil Yorke-Wade and Kobi.

All of the officers were congratulated by ACC Sue Harrison in front of family and friends before showing off their skills in a fun display.

Within the next few weeks each of the teams will become operational, making their mark on division to help combat crime.

Course leader Pc Collinson, who currently handles explosives search dog Storm, said: “The handlers’ expertise and dedication to this ever changing role is second to none. They have all worked hard and the standard of each of the dogs is a credit to the handlers.

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“The dog unit is committed to providing a quality service to the people of Essex and I wish the handlers and their dogs every success in the future.”

All of the dogs were bought from breeders across the country after being tested for their potential as police dogs.

They were then paired with volunteers known as puppy walkers until they began their training at the start of the year.

The walkers are ordinary members of the public who volunteer to give up their time to help prepare the dogs for training by getting them used to as many environments as possible. They don’t train the pups but introduce them to as many different people and places as possible from noisy train stations to crowded shopping centres so they become familiar with everything they might encounter in their working career.

Pc Collinson added: “I would like to thank the puppy walkers for giving these dogs a great start in life.”