South Yorkshire Police has this year played host to the three-day national police dog trials, with Surrey Police coming first out of 21 competitors.
The trials, held at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham, began on Thursday, 15 May, and concluded yesterday (Saturday, 17 May).
Twenty-one police dog handlers and police dogs from all over the UK, including PC Neil Losada with police dog Ace and PC John Shaw with police dog Diesel from South Yorkshire Police, had made it through the regional trials and into the final, national trials.
Each handler and dog competed in three separate phases which form the national trials.
Harry Morton, South Yorkshire Police’s Dog Training Manager and organiser of this years trials, explained the different phases: “Phase one is tracking, which took place at Hoober Hall Farm, and allows the dog to track down and locate certain obejcts by using scent.
“Phase two is person search, this year taking place at the Wentworth Estate, where the dog, directly deployed by the handler, had to locate two people within the estate.
“The final phase, which is the only phase that the public were able to watch the handlers and dogs in action as the first two phases cannot have any distractions, took place at Wentworth Woodhouse and tests obedience and criminal work including chase and detain, agility, crowd control and chase and stand off.”
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright attended the trials and expressed his pride for South Yorkshire to be holding the event this year: “It is an honour for South Yorkshire to be holding the National Police Dog Trials.
“I was very proud to see some of South Yorkshire’s and other forces’ dogs and handlers showcasing the high standard of skills required by police forces today.
“Well done to everyone involved in making the trials a big success and congratulations to all of the winners.”
The winner of the 54th National Police Dog Trials was PC Paul Barnham and police dog Ethel from Surrey Police. In second place was PC Stephen Randall and police dog Nevis from Police Scotland and in third place was PC Nick Dalrymple and police dog Aden from Avon and Somerset.
Chief Constable David Crompton of South Yorkshire Police said: “I am delighted that the event was a success. Police dog patrol teams are a crucial part of any police force; they play a vital role in day-to-day frontline policing.
“Over the past three days we have witnessed some exceptional performances by the handlers and their police dogs, and I want to congratulate all the winners, it’s been an outstanding event.”
Harry Morton added: “It has been an honour for the Force to be able to host the National Police Dog Trials in South Yorkshire. This is the first time they have been held in the county and I am absolutely thrilled to have had the privilege to organise the event and would like to thank everyone involved; those participating, planning and attending, as everyone has helped in making it a success.”