Tuesday 28 November 2017


The 2017 Police dog Alliance assessments were held over 3 days between 20 and 22 of November.

The assessments involved 7 dog teams from Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Personal pride was at stake not to mention trophies for the most successful and the top 3 dog teams would represent the Alliance at next year’s Regional Police dog assessments.

The competitors were as follows:-

PC Darryl Drew and Police dog Boris are stationed at Exeter.  Boris is from our B litter born on the 19th of November 2013 and is one of our elite Firearms support dogs. Boris was initially puppy walked by Lin and Ken Kennedy in Cornwall. Tragically Ken died unexpectedly and Boris then had further puppy walkers Phil and Mel Rooks and Ali and Rob Kingdon.

PC Lee Crampton and Police dog Annie are also stationed at Exeter. Annie is from our A litter born on the 3rd of June 2013 and is also one of our Firearm support dogs. Annie was puppy walked by Susannah Coffin in North Devon

PC Terri Davies and Police dog Salvi are stationed at Plymouth. Salvi was born on 7th November 2014 and was purchased as a young pup for our program. Salvi was puppy walked by Force dog trainer Graham Attwood and his wife Lucy.

PC Mike Green and Police dog Blade are stationed at Weymouth Dorset. Blade was also from our B litter born on the 19th of November 2013. Blade was puppy walked by Emma Osborne in Exeter.
PC Lee Briggs and Police dog Shadow are stationed at Ferndown in Dorset. Shadow was purchased as a pup from breeder John Smith and was born on 26th August 2012. Lee and Shadow were the 2016 Alliance Police dog trials champions. Shadow was puppy walked by Annie Millar in Cornwall.

 PS James Little and Police dog Cosmic are stationed at Camborne. James is the dog section supervisor for Cornwall. Cosmic was from our C litter born on 20th May 2014. Cosmic was puppy walked by Lyndsay and Anthony Lane-Lobb in Plymouth.

PC Ben Jobes and Police dog Ash are also stationed at Camborne. Ash is from our A litter born on 3rd June 2013 and is also a Firearms support dog. Ash was puppy walked by puppy walker Annie Millar in Cornwall.


The assessments (formerly called Police dog trials ) are held annually involving the teams who have won through their local area assessments. The teams are assessed on the broad spectrum of the skills needed to be an operational Police dog team.

I was very excited to be invited to judge the teams over the 3 days for a number of reasons. I had acquired Shadow and Salvi as pups and with the assistance of my wife Diane I had bred Annie, Ash, Boris, Blade and Cosmic at our house.

I watched them all develop with their puppy walkers and in the case of Annie, Ash, Boris, Blade and Cosmic I was the Instructor on their Initial courses.

As keen as the dogs were to do their work it was nice to see that they still remembered me when they met me again as Blade demonstrates here.

 The assessments were divided into 3 phases.


The 1st phase is the nosework section and assesses the dog’s ability to follow the trail of an offender one and a half hours old. The trail is half a mile long with multiple changes of direction and with 4 very small articles hidden on the trail which the team must recover.

Here is Lee and Shadow on their track which was very successful.

They are  pictured here being given their de-brief at the end of their phase 1  performance. As you can see like any good Police dog Shadow was more interested in the chance of further action.

Then like the character he is he decided after getting a sweat on it was time for a spot of cooling down.

After completing the track the teams must then deal with an offender who tries to flee the scene by running away when challenged. As the dog chases, the fleeing criminal will stop running and surrender. The dog should NOT bite the criminal but should keep him/her there by barking until his/her hander arrives.

We call this exercise the Stand Off.

Mike and Blade are pictured here having successfully detained their offender and a full search of the offender must then take place to make sure the offender is not concealing a weapon or evidence.

Having dealt with the fleeing offender there is one final exercise to the phase where the team then have to search and locate 4 further items of property hidden in a designated area.

The dog must indicate to the handler if he/she finds an article or item recently handled and must not touch the item to preserve any DNA that may link the offender to the item. Here is Blade setting off to search and having found an item lies down next to it waiting for his handler to take possession.

Due to persistent rain in the morning it was not possible to obtain decent photos of Boris, Annie and Salvi. The Cornwall competitors James Little with Cosmic and Ben Jobes with Ash did their Phase 1 the following morning and it is no exaggeration to say they were outstanding.

James and Cosmic won the Tracking section with a score of 155 out of 160 marks.

There is no doubt winning the Tracking exercise is the one section that all handlers want to win because to be a successful operational team you need a top tracking dog.

Having successfully completed his work with Cosmic James was able to relax and watch another competitor doing his work. Pictured with James are Cornwall handler Darren Tenby ( On the left ) and Cornwall and Plymouth environmental trainer Tim Goodwin ( On the right ) who both helped at the trials.

The handler they were watching was fellow Cornwall handler Ben Jobes with Police dog Ash.

James had a special interest because Ben and Ash were neck and neck with James and Cosmic as they were about to do their property search. A good property search by Ben and Ash would mean that they would win the Phase.

That is exactly what happened, Ben and Ash scored an incredible 96 out of 100 on their property search and deservedly won the phase 1 cup.

James wasn’t worried because Cornwall had won both the Tracking trophy and the Phase 1 cup. Setting them up nicely for the rest of the competition.


The second Phase of the competition involved searching a public house where 3 suspects had been seen to climb in through the roof of the building. The handler had to use his/her dog to search the building in a systematic and controlled manner to locate and arrest the suspects.

The building had areas where it was in total darkness. During the search the handler was taken by surprise and attacked by an armed criminal to test the courage of the dog in defending his/her handler.

The winners of this phase were Darryl Drew and Police dog Boris.

There was very little to separate the 7 teams who all performed extremely well and all scored highly.

I thought that Boris searched with such a determination that there was never a doubt that if someone was hiding in the building he would find them. He was also very impressive in the no nonsense way he dealt with the violent criminal.

Boris is more than capable of demonstrating control when he needs to but he is always ready for action.


The 3rd phase on day 3 assessed the Teams on a wide range of skills such as negotiating obstacles, heelwork, general control, and their ability to deal with conflict resolution which included dealing with a fleeing offender, an offender armed with a stick, an offender armed with a gun and the ability to recall their dog from chasing a fleeing criminal.

Ben Jobes with Ash  and James Little with Cosmic were 1st and 2nd on the leader board going into this Third Phase but with nearly half of the overall  marks allotted to this phase there was still plenty to play for.


First up was Darryl and Boris pictured here doing their heelwork.

They had a very good round which saw them finish 3rd overall in the competition. As I debriefed Darryl he was keeping a tight rein on Boris who was still looking for further action.


Next was Lee Crampton and Annie pictured here doing the hurdle.

I know just what an excellent standard this team have and at the start of the competition were more than capable of mounting a challenge.

But as so often happens in Police dog trials even the best dogs have off days and so it was with Annie failing to get away on the tracking exercise leaving a mountain to climb.

That’s trials as they say. Annie is pictured here having just made the long jump look ridiculously easy and later dealing positively with the gun criminal.


Next was Terri Davies with Salvi who was the youngest dog in the competition and a dog she re-handled from previous handler Chris Curnow. Salvi is pictured here doing the scale jump.

He performed an excellent chase, stand- off and barking when the criminal gave himself up.

I wasn’t sure what was happening here because although it may have looked as though Terri had encountered a stray bullet from the gun criminal that certainly wasn’t the case as we only use blanks.

She soon recovered to show what excellent control she has with Salvi before sending him on the straight chase.

The team had a good round and I have to say I was very impressed with their relationship and Terri’s handling of Salvi throughout the trials


Blade is very similar in character to his litter brother Boris in that he is very excitable and very lively. This makes him a difficult dog to control and settle in competition situations plus Mike is a first time handler.

This made his performance with Blade all the more remarkable because not only did he handle Blade superbly the team went on to win the phase 3 trophy by quite a wide margin. Blade is pictured here waiting under total control and then being sent to perform the chase and detain exercise.

Blade is pictured here making an immediate return to handler after being commanded to cease the chase in the emergency recall.

Excellent performance well done.


Next was Lee and Shadow who we know are very capable having won the competition together last year. This wasn’t to be their year but they were as professional as they always are throughout the competition.


Since their Initial Police dog course this team have gone from strength to strength.  Cosmic has never been the toughest of dogs but because of his lovely temperament and tracking ability James has supported him every step of the way and they are  an excellent example of just what can be achieved with a handler who loves his/her dog and develops a strong bond.

Going into this phase James and Cosmic were only 15 points behind leaders Ben and Ash. James and Cosmic put on a superb Phase 3 performance and although they didn’t quite manage to overhaul the lead that Ben and Ash had over them they still finished as the runners up in the whole competition.

Finishing runner up in your first Police dog trial is an outstanding achievement particularly with a score of 846.


Ben and Ash performed as well as any dog team that I can remember on their part 1 phase. Their track was exceptional and it was easy to see why they are so successful operationally. From there they performed consistently well on the remaining 2 phases and were worthy and deserved overall champions..

Here is Ben being presented with the Chief Constables cup by Chief Supt Jim Nye in charge of Operations.

James and Cosmic were the runners up and James is pictured here collecting the runners up shield.

Ben ( Handler of Ash ) is pictured here collecting the Phase 1 winners cup.

Darryl ( Handler of Boris ) is pictured here collecting the Phase 2 winners cup.

Mike ( Handler of Blade ) is pictured collecting the Phase 3 winners cup.

Here are all of the handlers scores.

Our winner Ben and Ash, runner up James and Cosmic and third place team Darryl and Boris will now represent the Alliance at the Regional Police dog trials next year.

We are grateful to Chief Supt Nye for his support in taking the time out to present the trophies to all of our winners.

This was my first go at judging a Police dog trial and I know my steward Hugh has never stewarded before so somehow we managed to bumble on through. My thanks to Hugh and all of the criminals, helpers, tracklayers for helping with the trials.

Normally I take all the photo’s for my blog but couldn’t this time as I was judging. It was a big mistake giving my camera to a dog handler to take the photos because this then happens.

I think we can safely say that Graham certainly hasn’t had any work done.

I would like to thank Ian Shacklock and his family of MTF driver training consultants for allowing us to use his land and facilities and their hospitality at the Phase 1 venue.

I think special thanks should go out to Phil Wilson for all of his hard work in organising the whole event.

Finally I was very impressed with the extremely high standards that I witnessed which is the result of a lot of hard work by the handlers and our trainers. But what gave me the most pleasure was the compassion, bond and close relationship that all of the handlers demonstrated with their dogs.

You were all a credit to the section.

I'm still scratching my head trying to work out how this rather strange individual managed to mastermind this result for Cornwall dogs.
Good luck to everyone at the regionals.  

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