A scheme has been launched to support the ongoing care of retired police dogs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The Police Dog Retirement Scheme (PDRS) has been set up by Leicestershire Police to recognise the vital contribution made by the force’s furry four-legged friends in protecting communities across the county.
From helping to locate missing people and tracking offenders, to finding vital evidence such as drugs, cash, explosives, bodily fluids and digital media devices – these crime-fighting canines work alongside police officers, often protecting their handlers from potentially dangerous situations.
When most police dogs retire from service they continue to live with their handler, who is responsible for their continued care and the associated costs.
With the launch of the PDRS yesterday (May 17), £500 will now be paid out when a police dog comes to the end of its service – to help ensure they continue to have a comfortable and relaxing retirement.
For each dog, £150 will be given by Leicestershire Police Federation and the remainder will be paid out by the force.
This money will be given to whoever takes on a retired dog – police officer, staff, or in some cases a member of the public.
Each dog will also be awarded a certificate of service, which is given to all police personnel on retirement, and a commemorative engraved dog lead.
Temporary Inspector Chris Day, who is part of the force’s Tactical Dogs and Firearms Unit, has been instrumental in helping to set up the scheme.
He said: “Police dogs play such a vital role in the work we do in protecting and serving the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
“As a force we wanted to set up a scheme which formally recognises their contribution but also financially supports the family who take care of our retired dogs. Some of our dogs retire with illness or injury and will require regular medication or treatment, others will simply retire as they get older.
“Whichever it is, the money will go some way in helping to pay for the ongoing cost of taking care of them – so they can have the retirement they deserve.”
Attending yesterday’s launch were four retired police dogs – Bo, Gilly, Mabon and Grace and their handlers. As well as specialist civilian dog handler Rupert Smallshaw, who took care of retired police dog Tommy when he finished his service in 2017 until he passed away in October 2021.
In total the five dogs served 34 years in policing.
As the most recent to retire, Bo and his hander PC Karen Daybell (pictured) were the first to be awarded the £500 as part of the scheme. Bo officially retired today (18 May) but has been away from operational duties for the last few months.