A SPECIALIST dog training scheme run by West Midlands Police has received national acclaim for its crime-fighting canines.
Breed Scheme Manager Dave Raymond has become the country’s first police staff member to get the annual Killick Award which highlights the exceptional role of dogs in the community.
The award has previously been given in honour of guide and hearing dogs but has this year been handed to Dave in recognition of the force’s highly successful puppy training programme and his charity work.
The four-legged crime fighters play a vital role in assisting police investigations, including sniffing out clues, evidence and suspects who may be trying to hide.
The award – named after respected national dog columnist Robert Killick – was given to Dave at the recent Crufts exhibition.
It was the final one to be personally selected by Mr Killick who recently passed away at the age of 91; and a memorial plate was also handed over.
The WMP unit was chosen in recognition of the work of the force’s dogs and work supporting dog charities.
Dave, who is based at the force’s dog unit at Balsall Common, said: “This is the first time a police force has been presented with the award so it is something I am particularly proud of.
“Police dogs are an important part of the force; they can assist officers in a variety of ways from drug searches, tracing missing people and maintaining crowd control at marches and football grounds.
“We have a great team of dogs and handlers at the unit and I get a great deal of satisfaction hearing about any of our pups who help catch a crook.”
The force plays a prominent role at the Birmingham-based Crufts each year with its own stand and putting on exhilarating displays in the main arena.
Along with the Killick award there was also a presentation for Inspector Russ Evans from the Kennel Club for his work with dogs.
West Midlands Police has one of the largest and most successful breed schemes in the UK after launching in 1994.
Around 85 per cent of dogs who go through the training scheme become operational and the scourge of criminals.