Police launch new schemes to protect and remember police dogs
Main article content
North Yorkshire Police has set up new initiatives to protect the welfare of its police dogs (PDs) and remember them at the conclusion of their service.
The force has issued each dog with an allocated collar number, just like all employees of the force, to recognise their status as operational colleagues. PDs will now be recognised when they retire from service by being added to the new Police Dog Roll of Honour at the force’s Headquarters at Northallerton.
PD Dixon (PD0001) who sadly died in March 2022 was the first name on the list and buried in the new memorial garden for PDs at Headquarters. In future, when PDs retire, or die in the line of duty, their names will be added to the Roll of Honour and their police handlers will be presented with a ceremonial dog collar.
The officers and their partners including PDs Skye, Chester, Barney, Ruby, Molly, Isla, Skye, Molly and Bobby (two Skyes and two Mollys).
The force has also introduced a new welfare scheme to ensure that the highest level of standards of animal health and welfare are maintained. As part of this scheme, independent visitors from various organisations will visit North Yorkshire Police’s dog kennels on a planned or unannounced basis. The visitors will check the facilities to make sure they are of a satisfactory standard.
The scheme has also provided officers and staff from the force’s dog section with additional training in areas which include the behaviours that dog display, the dog welfare elements, and furthermore the dog’s investment as they often feel undervalued and as stated no formal training to fall back on.
Sergeant Gareth Gummerson is a force dog handler and is leading on the Animal Welfare Scheme:
“I consider it an absolute privilege to be entrusted to oversee the implementation and introduction of the Animal Welfare Scheme in North Yorkshire Police.
“Animal welfare is paramount, not only to me as an individual, but also as a police dog handler and I share this passion with my colleagues on the force’s dog section.
“The Animal Welfare Scheme provides us with the opportunity to work collectively with internal and external agencies which include The Dogs Trust, veterinary surgeons and police volunteers. They all come from varying backgrounds and can offer a multitude of experience which will benefit the dogs on our section.
“This scheme shows our integrity and transparency in how we care for, train, and kennel our canine companions.”
North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Elliot Foskett added:
“Our police dogs are not simply force assets, they are our colleagues. They work alongside us every day and along with their handlers, are responsible for catching some of the most prolific and dangerous criminals operating in our communities. I was delighted to be able to recognise their importance to us as a force and the wider public.
“North Yorkshire Police is committed to providing the very best care to all our police dogs. The introduction of the Animal Welfare Scheme will ensure that the processes within the dog section are scrutinised which will benefit the dogs within the unit.
“The Chief Constable and I launched our Dog Section roll of honour at Headquarters last month. The introduction of the roll of honour and the allocation of a collar number for each dog starts to demonstrate just how much we value each dogs contribution and service”.
(This is Benjie, who is less than a year old. He is a new recruit and is not yet operational)
(PC Josh Hunsley with Rhun who is a General Purpose dog)
(PC Tony Barnes with Molly who is trained to find drugs, cash and weapons)