Tri-Force Specialist Operations Dog Unit welcomed six new General Purpose Police Dogs this week.
The dogs and their handlers have all completed thirteen weeks of intense training which culminated in a day of celebration at Wiltshire Police Headquarters on Thursday.
The dogs and handlers who will now be taking to the streets of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon & Somerset to protect our communities are:
PC Paul Manley and PD Jake, Avon and Somerset
PC Baz Johnson and PD Gus, Avon and Somerset
PC Neil Parsons and PD Aaron, Wiltshire
PC Mike Barrett and PD Dixie, Wiltshire
PC Adam Webb and PD Krieger, Avon and Somerset
PC Jon Norton and PD Gunnar, Avon and Somerset
All the group trained together at different locations across the three counties, while PD Gunnar trained separately with trainer Guy Williams after he joined PC Norton through the puppy scheme at just eight weeks old.
To mark the end of their course, the group were presented with certificates by Superintendent Mark Sellers, Head of Force Operations at Wiltshire Police.
PC Baz Johnson, who is new to the dog handler role, said: “I’ve got a lot of experience within different specialist roles within the police, but I’ve always wanted to be a dog handler.
“The training has been better than I ever expected – it is physically and mentally tiring but an amazing and fun experience, and so rewarding at the end of it.
“I’ve previously worked as a public order tactical advisor, which gave me an insight into what the dogs do, and it is a role like no other.
“I’ve been really pleased with my dog Gus, he’s been great. He needed bringing out of his shell to begin with, he’s probably one of the youngest on the course at just 15 months but he’s really come on well and is very protective.”
PC Barratt, who has been a Wiltshire dog handler for many years, said: “When you’ve had a dog for seven years previously, you know each other inside out, so when they retire and you get a new dog, it is really difficult. It’s like starting a new job, you don’t know each other’s little quibbles and you almost expect them to be able to do something immediately. The course was brilliant and the dogs all passed with flying colours.”
Dog trainer and instructor Craig Ogilvie added: “The hard work and dedication that the team put in made the course a huge success. The dogs were all fantastic and that’s the most important thing.”