Three Cumbria Police Officers have undertaken a 13-week course in order to become one of the force’s new Dog Handlers.
PC Diane Irving, PC Martyn Irving and PC Matthew Knott have all passed the GP Initial course and will join the Constabulary’s Dogs Unit where they will each be assigned a dog in which they will not only work alongside but also take them home.
The 13 week course consisted of a number of training exercises that each candidate must complete. The course also saw each officer spend time with the dogs that they will work alongside.
PC Chris Morgan, who was the course Instructor, said: “The course prepares each officer for the day-to-day work that they will face once they become Dog Handlers. The role of a handler is a demanding one and it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it requires a particular type of person to be a successful handler.
“The exercises they had to complete include tracking for people, searching for people both inside and outside of buildings, searching for property, criminal work, and obedience. The emphasis on each of the exercises is that the handler is in control of the dog and that safety to both the dog and people is ensured.
“The vast majority of the course is based outside and the handlers have had the added difficulty of completing the exercises in horrendous weather conditions. The course is very physical and mentally challenging with each dog having its own personality & unique set of training requirements and challenges. I am pleased that the three officers have all come through the training and are now joining the team at the Dog Unit.”
The 13-week course is a continuous assessment where the final day of testing is completed by a qualified officer from an outside force.
The handlers will start with one general purpose dog each and after 12 months experience will be considered for working a specialist dog as well, namely a drug detection dog.
PC Diane Irving will be paired with Ava, PC Matthew Knott will be paired with Will and PC Martyn Irving will be paired with Zeus.
PC Diane Irving, one of the new Cumbria Police Dogs Handlers, said: “I’m looking forward to getting started in my new role and I am really excited to be working alongside Ava. The role is demanding but having spoken to the other handlers it is ultimately rewarding and I can’t wait to start.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard Rhodes said: “I am very pleased for the three officers, who have clearly worked very hard to achieve their success following their rigorous thirteen weeks of dog handler training, and would like to wish them and their dogs all the best for what will no doubt be a challenging but rewarding partnership.”