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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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New Cumbria police dog handlers take to streets

Cumbria's police dog unit has three new recruits ready to take to the streets with their four-legged friends.

Police dog handlers photo
New handlers, rom left, Diane Irving with Ava, Martyn Irving with Zeus and Matthew Knott with Will

Three officers stood proudly with their new crime-fighting partners at Cumbria Police’s headquarters as they were presented with their certificates for completing the dog handling course.

Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson closed the course in which PC Diane Irving, PC Martyn Irving and PC Matthew Knott officially joined the constabulary’s dog unit.

Mr Johnson said: “They are an essential part of the force. Just recently they dealt with an armed suspect. A dog can cover five or six times more ground than a human. They are an essential piece of equipment.”

The newly-qualified handlers have had to undergo a gruelling 13-week course in which they completed a range of exercises, including tracking and searching for people, searching for property, criminal work, and obedience.

PC Diane Irving, couldn’t wait to get started.

“I have been in the police for 16 years and in my probation report it said I wanted to be a dog handler – and now I have achieved it,” she said,

PC Martyn Irving said: “I had spent some time with different departments and as soon as I started with the dog handlers I knew that was what I wanted to do.

The course instructor was PC Chris Morgan.

He said: “The dog unit gets involved in every aspect of policing, but they also do a lot of stuff based in the community. Their main role will continue to be police officers, but with the added bonus of having a dog that can search for missing people or tracking offenders.

“It is a long 13-week course, especially since we have had all this horrendous weather. They have been tested mentally and physically.”

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