New Police Dog Xena Joins The Dorset Force
Dorset Police's dog section has welcomed a new police dog to their team thanks to a donation from a south-coast charity.
Xena came from Devon and Cornwall Police's puppy scheme and was paid for with a donation from Sniffer Dogs UK and International (SDUKI).
The short-haired German Shepherd has been teamed up Police Constable Steve Budd after his dog Tango retired in August 2014. The pair have just completed an intensive 10-week training course where Xena became fully licensed to work in the county.
18 month-old Xena will now become one of Dorset Police's general purpose dogs that are called to attend a range of incidents around the county, from helping to search for offenders and missing people, to dealing with public order incidents.
Police Constable Steve Budd said: "Xena excelled on her training course and has all the makings of being a fantastic police dog.
"She has an excellent temperament and is more than ready to get out onto the streets as a police dog."
Maggie Gwynne, CEO of Hampshire-based SDUKI, said: "Dogs play a vital role in police forces up and down the country.
"SDUKI raises money to give to any UK police dog section that asks for it in order to bring their numbers back up to fully operational strength.
"We are delighted to have been able to fund a general purpose dog for Dorset Police.
"SDUKI was established in March 2011 in direct response to successive governments slashing of police budgets and continues to work to provide police officers with the tools they need.
"In 2008 Police Federation figures showed there were 1,296 working police dogs in the UK. Numbers have now shrunk to less than half that figure in 2014.
"These units are working hard 24/7 behind the scenes, and often in harm's way, to keep us all as safe as we can possibly be."
SDUKI will be funding a second dog for Dorset Police in Spring 2015.
It's been an exciting year for the Dog Section. Xena's arrival follows the announcement that ten-week-old German Shepherd puppy Gus joined the Force in June. The dog is now seven months and is being cared for by instructor Police Constable David Henrys until he begins training with his handler in April 2015.
And in the summer, Springer Spaniel search dog Ajax and German Shepherd general purpose dog Acer become fully licensed to work.
The Dorset Police's Dog Section is based at Ferndown and Weymouth and there is one inspector, one sergeant and 12 constables responsible for 21 dogs. The Force currently has 13 German Shepherd dogs mainly trained for general policing duties and eight dogs trained in sniffing out drugs, cash or explosives.
Inspector Neil Leat, of the Dog Section, said: "Police dogs are vital members of the Dorset Police family delivering policing across the county.
"Our dogs have tracked vulnerable missing people and dangerous offenders and we are delighted to have received the help and support of charity SDUKI to welcome Xena as the latest member of our canine team."
Members of the public can follow the progress of the new police dogs on Twitter @dorsetpolice and facebook.com/dorsetpolice.
SDUKI has been assisting dog sections across the UK and search and rescue dog teams for over four years.
The charity relies on generous donations from the public to help support police dog sections up and down the country. You can find out more by visiting www.sduki.org.uk.