Specialist PSNI dog team wins top award

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A specialist Police Service of Northern Ireland dog team has beaten off stiff competition to win a prestigious UK award for their work in helping locate a missing person.

This is the first time that a PSNI handler and his police dog have won the ‘Police Dog Team Humanitarian Action of the Year Award 2016’.

Four-year old police dog Jake, who is a Dutch Herder and his handler were deployed as part of a search operation to help find a vulnerable female who had gone missing in Northern Ireland last Autumn.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Dunwoody, from the PSNI’s Operational Support Department, who nominated the pair for the award said: “This is an award that has been well earned and is well deserved. All our police dog teams are vital in situations where we need to locate missing people as soon as possible.

“On the night in question the dog team were led to a general location by means of the missing person’s mobile phone. At the time, temperatures had dropped to -3 degrees centigrade and there was thick, freezing fog.

“Using their training and Jake’s skills, the dog was able to establish a track which eventually helped find the missing person.

“The officer displayed his expertise not only in dog handling but also in his management of the female casualty. The medical opinion is that if the team had not located her when they did, there could have been tragic consequences.”

The pair were presented with the award by Deputy Chief Constable Rod Hansen, Gloucestershire Constabulary, who is the National Policing Lead for Police Dogs.

The Dog Section within the PSNI provides: specialist search capabilities, the ability to track people and look for evidence of criminality; and a 24-hour response in keeping communities safe made up of two Sergeants and 30 Constables, all of whom handle and patrol with at least one police dog.