Photo: Dog handler Constable Steve Adams with his wife, Joanne, and Champ.
A Merseyside Police labrador donned a black tie to attend a glamorous ceremony in London yesterday (Wednesday, 9 December 2015).
Champ, a four-year-old golden Labrador Retriever cross, went through rigorous training to become a guide dog in 2013, only to fail at the final hurdle because he was a little too easily distracted.
But after Guide Dogs Liverpool realised his potential for a career change, he has since proved himself as an excellent police dog, sniffing out drugs, firearms and cash. He travelled to the prestigious Guide Dogs Annual Awards with handler Constable Steve Adams and Sergeant Paul Makin.
As a result of their work, the officers and Champ were shortlisted for the Collaboration Award in the Guide Dogs Annual Awards 2015. They joined a host of stars at the glittering awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane yesterday, hosted by North West comedian Dave Spikey.
Dog Section Sergeant Paul Makin said: “To be shortlisted for such a prestigious award is an absolute honour and reflects the hard work of many people in Merseyside Police who, by working alongside the charity Guide Dogs, have ensured that the people who really matter are provided with a service that gives them a quality of life they deserve.”
Champ’s handler Constable Steve Adams, from the Dogs and Mounted Section at Merseyside Police, said: “It was great to see the work of the Dog Section recognised at the awards ceremony, and the sight of Champ in a black tie certainly caught a lot of people eyes!
Photo: Dog handler Constable Steve Adams with Champ and finalists Kerry Singleton (middle), Lynette Proctor (right) and her dog Pippa.
“Champ has proved a real asset to the department and in two years of service has made some really significant finds, including large drug hauls, huge quantities of ill-gotten cash and firearms.
“Criminals have found lots of different ways of trying to conceal drugs, but if there’s something there, Champ will find it. You can’t beat a dog’s nose.”
Paul, Steve and Champ were chosen by a panel of three expert judges from the dozens of entries for the Collaboration Award, which celebrates the work being done by an individual, company or other organisation that has worked successfully in partnership with Guide Dogs, making a valuable contribution towards improving the lives of people with sight loss.
Merseyside Police were nominated by the Guide Dogs Liverpool team for the work that the Dog Section have done on the issue of attacks on guide dogs.
When Liverpool guide dog owner, Rose reported an attack to Merseyside Police, the force used new legal powers to prosecute the owner of the dog that attacked her dog, Ushi. Attacks on assistance dogs such as guide dogs were recognised in legislation introduced a year ago which means owners of dogs who attack assistance dogs are now subject to a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Officers helped Rose use the media to appeal for witnesses, and the people who came forward as a result were crucial in enabling the police to identify the attacking dog’s owner and secure a prosecution.
After the attack, dog section officers Paul Makin and Steve Adams worked with the charity Guide Dogs to make a training video, which features interviews with three guide dogs owners who’ve been victims of such attacks to raise awareness of the seriousness of such attacks and of the new legislation.
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