Two Suffolk policemen named top dogs after winning regional dog handler trials
- Credit: Archant
Two Suffolk policemen have been named top dogs after winning the regional police dog trials in Martlesham.
The annual event was hosted by the joint Norfolk and Suffolk Police Dog Unit and saw participants from Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire compete against the host counties.
The trials were held on the March 17 and 18 and involved tracking and searching activities, along with weapon attack, jumping and obedience challenges.
Two officers from the joint dog unit were selected to represent Suffolk and Norfolk at the trials.
Pc Alex Willson, based at Martlesham, and Pc Tony Russell, from Bury St Edmunds, were picked to compete in the event after they came top in the in force trials held at Police Headquarters in February.
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Pc Willson competed with 4-year-old German Shepherd Rex, while Pc Russell took part with 4-year-old German Shepherd Jackson.
The event was won by Pc Willson, who was competing at a regional level for the first time.
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He said: “I was delighted just to gain a place in the regional trials, so to have won them is a fantastic achievement for both Rex and myself.
“He is a steady, solid dog who performed brilliantly over the two days – we now look forward to competing at the national trials together.”
Pc Willson also won the best team award together with Pc Russell, who finished third.
Pc Russell added: “I was delighted to be selected to represent Suffolk and Norfolk at the Regional Dog Trials with Jackson and enjoyed participating again.
“Jackson is a consistent dog who works really well and it was great to be able to showcase his skills in the competition.”
Commenting on the event overall, Inspector Ross McDermott who is in charge of the joint Norfolk and Suffolk dog unit, said: “It was a pleasure for us to host the regional trials at Martlesham and welcome fellow dog handlers from other forces.
“I am especially pleased that Alex won overall and Alex & Tony together won the best team award, they have been fantastic representatives for Suffolk and Norfolk.
“There is no doubt all those competing wanted to win, but the event’s primary focus was to maintain the excellence required in this specialist role, enhance and refine skills and to highlight the important part police dogs continue to play in our day-to-day operational work.”