The Animal Welfare Scheme Awards organised by Dogs Trust celebrates the work and success of service dogs working within the UK’s emergency services. Four police dogs were recognised this years awards as the Animal Welfare Visitors Scheme reached its 20th anniversary. The scheme was set up to to ensure that the training, housing and transport of police dogs meets high animal welfare standards. There are currently 32 police forces across the UK signed up to the scheme.
Dogs Trust has rehomed approximately 70 dogs in the last few years with police forces across the UK where they have gone on to work as successful service dogs.
Police Dog Boots, a six-year-old Labrador Collie cross from Essex Police, received the All-Round Achiever Award. Boots was a stray before being taken into care by the team at Dogs Trust Basildon. While with Dog Trust he was identified as a potential Police Dog. Boots and his partner PC Rickwood were recognised for being a very active and successful team. He has recovered hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash, including a seizure of over £200,000.
Economic crime buster
Police Dog Chip received the Economic Crime Buster Award thanks to his success while being deployed as a cash, drugs, firearms detection dog. Chip and handler PC Luke Pitchford from Essex Police have worked together on many operations, resulting in the discovery of large quantities of drugs, cash and firearms, including £750,000 worth of cocaine and over a million pounds worth of drugs and cash.
The Community Superstar Award was given to Police Dog Jeff for his work keeping the public safe across the UK. Since joining the team at Dorset Police, he and handler PC Sue Hillier have been deployed across the UK for large events. This included all of the pre-search and seal operation for G7 in Cornwall and G7 itself where he was responsible for searching The Eden Project prior to the arrival of the Royal family. He also searched President Biden’s hotel and the hanger where they kept Marine One.
The award for Rescue Hero was given to Police Dog Luther due to his amazing tracking skills which he put into practice locating a dangerous criminal who was at large with a knife following a robbery, assault and theft. Luther is partnered with PC Philip Rosier at Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Speaking about the awards, Louise Crawford, Animal Welfare Scheme Coordinator at Dogs Trust said, “It’s fantastic to be able to celebrate and recognise the success of service dogs working across the UK. It’s even more amazing that they all came from humble beginnings, spending time in rehoming centres before being identified as potential police dogs.
“We’ve been working with police forces across the UK for 20 years to ensure the welfare of police dogs is of the very highest standards, and to identify possible service dogs amongst the thousands of dogs we rehome every year.“