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Cunning canine Mike wins the top UK police dog title

By Cate McCurry

A PSNI canine has been crowned best police dog in the UK for the second year in a row.

The top dog and his handler were awarded the title at the National Police Dog Trials in England at the weekend.

The prestigious canine competition includes the most skilled four-legged police dogs from all over the United Kingdom.

Police Dog Mike and his handler, Constable McCrea, also won last year when Northern Ireland hosted the trials.

They are the first team to retain their title in 20 years.

A post uploaded to the PSNI Instagram page, stated that there was "exciting news" to share with thousands of followers, and followed it up with: "Our fantastic PD Mike and his handler won the 57th National Police Dog Trials (NPDT) 2017 in Avon and Somerset for the second time over the weekend.

"PD Mike and (his) handler also won last year whenever we hosted the trails.

"They are the first team to retain their title in 20 years."

Over a three-day course the dogs were taken through a variety of scenarios reflecting the work they and their handlers experience in real life.

Tests covered everything from chasing and detaining a criminal armed with a gun to searching for an item in a property, as well as obedience and agility skills.

The PSNI dogs live permanently with their handlers, even after they retire, and form a close bond with them.

Superintendent Mark Sellers, Head of Tri-Force, Wiltshire Police, said: "Police dog teams are a crucial part of any Police Service and play a key role in supporting local policing and keeping our communities safe.

"The trials give our handlers and dogs the opportunity to promote their incredible skills and to share best practice in the areas of safety and control and efficiency."

Last year's event, held at Stormont, saw dogs and their handlers travel to Belfast from all over the UK.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year following his first win, Constable McCrea revealed that Mike was his first police dog.

"They trained me as a handler at the same time," he said.

He added that it showed how comprehensive the PSNI dog training was.

"We had good support from the training team and we have to put the training in ourselves."

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