Fifteen retired police dogs and dogs that died in service have received medals in recognition of loyal service.
Ten retired police dogs were presented with medals engraved with dates of their service at a special ceremony at the Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford on Saturday, September 9, 2016.
Five dogs who fell in service received posthumous medals which were presented to their emotional former police handlers and owners.
The medals for dogs who fell in service bore black ribbons, and those presented to retired dogs had red/blue ribbons.
Essex Police are only police service in the UK to honour its retired dogs in this way and the ceremony in Chelmsford follows the first of its kind at a ceremony at the Essex Police Headquarters in June.
The medals, which have been funded by Essex Police Federation, were presented by Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, Lord Lieutenant of Essex Lord Petre, Lady Ruggles-Brise, Patron of the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund, and Linda Belgrove, Chair of the fund.
Dog handler Pc Paul Nicholls came up with the idea after installing a plaque dedicated to the memory and faithful service of police dogs in the Chief Constable’s garden at Essex Police headquarters last year.
Since then he’s been working with Dog Unit Inspector Brad Dickel, Essex Police Federation and the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund to continue the ceremonies for our canine colleagues.
Pc Nicholls has worked with a total of eight police dogs throughout his career including his current general purpose German Shepherd Fidget and drug and blood detection spaniel Ludo.
He said: “Our police dogs work incredibly hard and support their police officer colleagues throughout the career. Therefore it seems only right that their loyal, brave and unfaltering service be recognised.
“It’s important too that we don’t forget those dogs who have died during service so it’s really fitting that their former handlers were able to come along to the ceremony too.”
During the day funding was secured for future ceremonies, to ensure that these dogs are remembered and recognised for their loyal service.
Photos courtesy of C♥untrymantic Photography