Friday 4 May 2018

Tag, Ollie, Oppo (Eric) And Roscoe (Oscar) Successfully Graduate As Operational Police Dogs

After a 3 month intensive General purpose Initial Police dog course Tag, Ollie, Oppo and Roscoe have successfully graduated as operational Police dogs and yesterday enjoyed their passing out parade with their puppy walkers, family and friends.

The 3 month General purpose Initial Police dog course is without doubt the most demanding Police dog course that there is.

The dogs have to learn to master a wide range of skills and disciplines

They learn to track and search for missing vulnerable people and criminals who have made off from crime scenes or Police officers.

Here is Dan and Ollie tracking an offender who has made off from a simulated dwelling house burglary on a housing estate.

They are pictured here having tracked and located the offender and as a result of their training on the course Ollie is more than capable of dealing with this offender if he offers violence or tries to escape.

Here is Tag demonstrating it is never a good idea to try and escape from a Police dog.

The dogs are also taught to locate items of property which have been lost or are the subject of crime. In relation to articles which are the subject of crime DNA can be retrieved from such items which can then identify the offender.

The dogs are taught to indicate but not to interfere with the property that they locate so as not to destroy possible DNA.

Here is Oppo telling his handler Pete that he has located a belt the fleeing offender has left behind having climbed over the fence.

Here is Roscoe (formerly Oscar) having located a hammer the subject of an assault hidden below a grid.

The dogs are taught to negotiate all types of obstacles which they are likely to encounter whilst tracking or searching for criminals or vulnerable missing persons. Here is Roscoe, Ollie and Tag in the early stages negotiating the long jump, hurdle and scale.

It is fairly easy to get the dogs to chase and bite people but it is a lot more difficult making sure that they are at all times under the control of their handler. For this reason all exercises are underpinned by control and focus exercises.

Here are Roscoe, Ollie and Tag practising their control and focus exercises.

Here Is Pete searching the criminal that Oppo has just located. If the criminal attempts to escape or attacks his handler during the search Oppo will immediately defend his handle or detain him.

The dogs are also trained to deal with disorderly or violent crowds. Here is Ollie moving the simulated aggressive crowd away from the area.

The dogs were assessed on all of their skills at the end of the course by Home office instructor Paul Booth from Gwent Police dog section. All of the dogs passed with flying colours and we are grateful to Paul for coming down to assess the teams.

Paul set very fair and achievable assessments and put all the teams at ease.

Normally I am a regular visitor to all of the Initial courses to see how our pups progress. But with the E litter keeping me busy at our house I didn’t see this course during the last 6 weeks of the course.

I managed to spend a couple of days with them in their last week when the E litter had gone to their new homes.

The progress the teams had made since I saw them in the early weeks was very impressive. Oppo the baby of the group was only just 11 months old at the start of the course and was very immature.

But he really grew into the course and I was really impressed with the track I saw Pete and Oppo complete on a local housing estate.

The teams have certainly come a long way since those early weeks.

The passing out parade was on Wednesday the 2nd of May at Police Headquarters with a fantastic turn out from the puppy walkers, handlers’ families, friends and other handlers.

The passing out parade is very much our opportunity to say thank you to all of our puppy walkers for all the work they have put in to develop the dogs.

We started as we always do taking photographs of all of the dog teams, puppy walkers, and the handlers families. Here they are.

MARK AND ROSCOE (Formerly Oscar)

Mark Hawkins and PD Roscoe (Formerly Oscar) will be serving at Bodmin.

Puppy walkers Pete and Rebecca Bell are first time puppy walkers and this is the first dog they have ever had which makes their achievement very impressive.

Mark and Roscoe are pictured here with his family.


Steve Newton and Tag will be serving at Ferndown in Dorset. Steve is a first time handler. Tag was bred by Alfons Schumeister in Germany. Alfons also bred Quendi and Ronnie who are currently working well in our force.

Steve is pictured here with Tag and his puppy walkers Gideon, Jo and young Marina. Marina and Tag received the 2017 Daily Mirror & RSPCA young Animal hero award at the Grosvenor Hotel in London and were the subject of National TV recognition for their special relationship.

Jo and Gideon are also first time puppy walkers.

Tag has been with Steve for nearly 6 months now and although Marina misses Tag she is excited that Tag is going to be a Police dog and will be able to follow him because Steve and Tag now have their own Twitter account.

Here is Steve and Tag with their large family.


Dan Pencollins and PD Ollie will be serving at Plymouth. Dan is a first time handler.

Dan is pictured here with Ollie and his puppy walkers Paul and Debbie. They are also first time puppy walkers.

Despite Paul having on going health issues and also undergoing a major operation they have refused to give up on Ollie and have done a fantastic job getting him to this point considering all that they have been through.

Dan and Ollie are pictured here with their family.

PETE AND OPPO (Formally Eric)

Pete Boxall and PD Oppo will be serving at Plymouth. Pete is a first time handler.

Pete and Oppo are pictured here with puppy walker Terri. Unfortunately Terri badly injured her hand after 4 months of puppy walking and Oppo (Eric ) had to be allocated to a new puppy walker.

Pete and Oppo are pictured here with his next puppy walkers Eamon and his wife Karen who have puppy walked a number of pups for us.

3 generations here is Pete with Oppo, his son and Dad.

Pictured here are Pete and Oppo with Bernard Horton who bred Oppo. We acquired Oppo and his sister Elsa last year. There is no doubt in my mind that Oppo’s sister Elsa would also make an excellent Police dog and we are hopeful that she is going to be one of our breeding females.

We hope to have further pups from Bernard this year.

OLLIE AND ROSCOE (Formerly Oscar)

Pictured here is Richard Evans who bred Ollie and Roscoe. ( Formally Oscar ) Richard provided us with 3 brothers Ollie, Oscar and Ozzie. Ozzie passed his Police course with us in December last year and is operational in Plymouth.

The Display

After the photographs the handlers and dogs put on a short display of their control, agility and criminal work for the crowd.

Firstly the teams were presented to the crowd.

Mark and Roscoe then gave a short display of control work.

Next Pete and Oppo did some agility work then gave a demonstration of dealing with a fleeing criminal.

Mark and Roscoe then gave a very impressive display of the stand-off exercise. This is where a fleeing criminal on seeing the dog chasing him stops running and surrenders. The dog is required to remain with the criminal without biting the criminal until he is joined by his handler.

Steve and Tag then gave a demonstration of agility before going on to deal with a violent criminal brandishing a stick.

Next Dan and Ollie also did some agility before going on to deal with a criminal brandishing and firing a gun.

The teams were then presented to the crowd before marching off. They weren’t quite so polished marching back on because the dogs having just performed lots of criminal work were obviously hoping there was more action to come.

Considering this was the first time the dog teams have ever performed in front of a crowd and with their handlers nervous wanting to put on a good show I thought the teams put on a first class display. Well done.

Supt Nikki Leaper operations then presented all of the handlers with their certificates and the puppy walkers with a photo of their dog.

Then it was time for the buffet and catch up with all of the puppy walkers, family and friends.

My final memory is of Marina and Steve spending some time together with Tag at the end of a fantastic day.

My thanks to all of my puppy walkers for all of their hard work and I have lots of great memories of our time together.

My thanks also go to Bernard, Richard and Alfons our breeders of these very fine dogs.

I now have 12 month old Gunnar living with me and Ella. He growled at the 12 year old daughter of his puppy walkers around the food bowl and so he is with me for assessment. So far he is behaving himself impeccably and in my next blog I will tell you about his progress and how the new pups are getting on.

From Ella, Gunnar and myself see you next time.

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