Police dog team scoops top award at Crufts

A police officer who broke her heel bone and ripped ligaments in her foot yet continued searching with her dog for a missing woman has won a national award.

Constable Carly Fulton and Police Dog Ben won the National Police Chiefs’ Council ‘Dog Team of the Year’ award. It was presented to them by Chief Constable Pippa Mills, NPCC lead for police dogs, at Crufts, the international dog show held in Birmingham.

The award comes after a missing person incident in Carluke, South Lanarkshire that happened in August 2022. Local Police Scotland officers were supported by national resources, including the police helicopter and licensed search officers, but their progress was limited due to difficult woodland and overgrowth.

PC Fulton set up PD Ben to search and despite the conditions and as they made their way through, PC Fulton lost her footing, broke her heel bone and ripped ligaments in her ankle and foot. She kept going, at times on her hands and knees, to eventually find the woman. The woman was taken to hospital and PC Fulton needed rehabilitation for her injuries before returning to full duties six months later.

Constable Carly Fulton said, “I’m grateful to receive this award but after my injury, I’m just glad to be back at work with my dogs. Due to the nature of that incident, I knew we had to find the woman quickly and that was the focus for me. Ben was my first dog when I joined the national Dog Unit and I’m always amazed at the power of his nose and what dogs bring to policing to save lives.”

Six-year-old Ben is a Belgian Malinois and German Shephard cross breed who is trained as a general purpose dog. He can help find missing people, track suspects and recover evidence. 

Chief Superintendent Tracey Robinson, Head of Specialist Services at Police Scotland said, “I would like to congratulate Carly and Ben for winning this award which recognises their incredible determination and dedication to public service. All of our dog handlers work extremely hard developing their skills and provide crucial support as a national resource to local policing and their communities.”