A total of 15 police dogs, 10 retired and 5 who died in service, were awarded medals in recognition of loyal service on 9 September. The medals were funded by the Essex Police Federation - the only police service in the UK to honour their dogs in this way - and awarded during a ceremony at the Essex Police Headquarters in Chelmsford.
Dog handler Pc Paul Nicholls, who has worked with a total of eight police dogs throughout his career, had the idea for the ceremony last year.
“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," he said.
Most of the dogs honoured got to enjoy a peaceful and well-deserved retirement after service. Among them are German Shepherd Jet, who caught a burglar on his very first day on the job; Labrador Scout, a explosives search dog who deployed to search the Olympic venues in 2012 and is often a Star Guest at events for the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund; and Gus, pictured above, who was infamous for achieving a Dog Section hat trick by detaining three prisoners in one night of work.
The dogs who sadly fell in service were Arrow, Baron, Buddy, Eddie and Gunner - all German Shepherds whose posthumous medals were collected by their handlers.
“It’s important too that we don’t forget those dogs who have died during service," Nicholls said. "It’s really fitting that their former handlers were able to come along to the ceremony too.”
The medals 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.
Images by Essex Police.