Surrey and Sussex Police are today celebrating after winning the first national Police Dog Trials which occurred t the weekend.
Surrey Police Officer PC Paul Barnham and his Police Dog Ethel won first placed out of 21 dog handlers over a three day intense competition which was held in Sheffield and hosted by South Yorkshire Police.
Surrey and Sussex’s team also had Surrey’s PC Rob Male with Apollo finish fifth and PC Paul House from Sussex with Jax in sixth at the 54th annual event.
PC Barnham and Ethel scored 885 points out of 1,000, winning by 61 points, to become the first team from Surrey to ever win the competition.
That feat is even more remarkable given that Ethel, a two-year-old a German Shepherd cross malinois, has been working for just a year.
The teams had to cover 12 different areas in three competencies from agility to testing their bravery in defending their handler from an attacker.
There were also tests in heelwork, tracking, chasing a suspect, crowd control, and searching people and property from Thursday to Saturday.
As well as winning the overall title PC Barnham and Ethel were awarded theJoseph Simpson Trophy for attaining the highest marks in the tracking exercise and the William Palfrey Trophy for scoring the highest marks in the criminal work. They also attained the highest marks in the first third of the exercises.
PC Burnham said: “She’s only a two-year-old dog so it’s quite an achievement to get one of the highest ever recorded scores.
“It’s very good to have achieved this and it’s great for Surrey. It’s brilliant to bring back to national title.
“Once I completed my exercise on the last morning I knew my score and so knew I was in a strong position.
“People are dog handlers for many years and don’t make it to the regionals, so to get through to the finals and win it is amazing. To get her up to a national standard has taken a lot of work.”
Manager of the Police Dog Training School, John Best said: “This is an excellent achievement from dogs and handlers of the Surrey/Sussex combined dog unit.
“It is the first time a handler from Surrey has been presented with this prestigious award.
“To also attain fifth and sixth place is also very rewarding for the handlers and the dog training team who have been extremely supportive.
“It proves that when tested nationally the standards of our Police dogs and handlers are extremely high and greatly assist both forces in keeping people safe.”
Chief Constable Lynne Owens said: “I was delighted to hear on Saturday of the success of PC Paul Barnham and Police Dog Ethel at the National Police Dog Trials.
“As Ethel was born and bred within Surrey Police, this national award not only reflects their expertise and professionalism but also the fantastic team within our Dog Training School, from puppy walkers to course trainers.
“I appreciate all their hard work, dedication and share in their pride. With the excellent placings also achieved by PC Rob Male and Apollo and PC Paul House and Jax it was a superb weekend for the Dog Section. Well done!
“It is great to know that we have the best police dog team in the country keeping the public of Surrey safe and I look forward to seeing them in action again at the Surrey Police Dog Trials in September.”
The public will be able to see first-hand the skills of Surrey and Sussex’s Dog Teams during the Anna of Avondale Dog Trials at the Force Family Fun Day which takes place at Surrey Police’s Headquarters at Mount Browne in Guildford from 10am until 4pm on September 21.