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Five new police dogs will be hitting the streets of the county after successfully completing their training at Essex Police's Dog Unit.
After 13 weeks training the 'passing out' ceremony was held in Chelmsford and is particularly special because all of the dogs paired with Essex Police handlers are the first litter from the force’s breeding programme which launched in 2010.
The pups were born on May 8 last year after Essex Police dog three-year-old German Shepherd Xena was bred with Rio, a five-year-old German Shepherd belonging to Greater Manchester Police.
Since October four of the young dogs, now aged just over a year and a half, have been on a course to train as general purpose police dogs. Paired with their handlers, they’ve been learning how to track, search and detain potential suspects with police dog trainer Pc Dave Frost.
Pc Dave Frost (pictured) said: "I'm very proud to have watched four of our first litter of pups develop into good quality police dogs. This is the sixth course I've led and the dogs are superb.
"There are two main benefits to breeding our own police dogs - stronger dogs on the streets of Essex and cost effectiveness.
"In the past we've relied on buying dogs from breeders and other police forces or donations of gift dogs. Breeding police dogs using parents with good genes means we can produce stronger, more effective police dogs that, together with their handlers, bring quicker results for the people of Essex."