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PSNI crowned top dogs as canine cops secure unprecedent double at UK policing trials in Belfast

By Linda Stewart

Published 23/05/2016

56th National Police Dog Trials on Sunday at Stormont Pavillion.
Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
56th National Police Dog Trials on Sunday at Stormont Pavillion. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
Little Ann-Marie Fenton (7) trying the hat on for size at the 56th National Police Dog Trials at Stormont Pavillion. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
Heather Campton with little Molly at the 56th National Police Dog Trials at Stormont Pavillion. Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Sharon McCallan with Hartley enjoying the show.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Megan checks everything out.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Behind the wheel little Jacob McFarlane (6) from Greenisland.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Little Grace Rainey (3) from Stormont with Inky and Carrie Allen from NI Pets First Aid
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Emily McMannara (5) ans Lizzy Atkinson
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Emma Rooney (9) and Megan.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion. Megan keeps and eye on everything.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © 22nd May 2015 56th National Police Dog Trials Stormont Pavillion.

The PSNI is the top dog when it comes to canine contests.

Two of the force's Belgian Malinois snapped up first and second place in the National Police Dog Trials at Stormont - for the first time in the tournament's 56-year history.

'Mike' took first place, while 'Finn' was runner-up, beating off competition from 18 of the UK's most skilled police dogs.

Over the past three days they 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 last time a PSNI dog won the UK-wide tournament was 11 years ago.

Mike and Finn's handlers were stunned at this weekend's achievement.

The dogs live permanently with their handlers and form a close bond with them.

"This is hard to believe," said handler Constable McCrea.

He said Mike was his first police dog.

The 56th National Police Dog Trials took place at Stormont Pavilion yesterday
The 56th National Police Dog Trials took place at Stormont Pavilion yesterday
Emma Rooney and Megan
Emily McMannara is face-painted by Lizzy Atkinson
The 56th National Police Dog Trials took place at Stormont Pavilion yesterday
Finn finished runner-up
Ann-Marie Fenton

"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," he said. "I am shellshocked to win."

Constable Bradley said he got Finn as a nine-month-old pup.

"I brought him on for six or seven months before he completed the general purpose training in 2013 and he has been operational for three years," he explained.

"We've had quite a few successes in that time.

"This is like the golf Open for anybody that has an interest in training and working dogs - these are the UK's best dogs.

"This result goes a long way to showing the dedication, commitment and professionalism by the dog handlers, the dogs and the support team.

"It's like having Northern Ireland winning the World Cup and coming runner-up as well. It never happens. In 56 years this is the first time."

Superintendent Nigel Goddard said the dogs showing off their skills yesterday were the best of the best, and described Mike's round as flawless.

"Our trained dogs play an important role within policing by supporting officers in a number of ways, including finding missing people, locating illegal drugs, cash and explosives, controlling crowds, searching cordon points and public venues, as well as tracking down criminals who attempt to get away," he said.

"The National Trials provide a platform to showcase the expertise, skills and abilities of handlers and their canine colleagues from across the UK.

"They also provide the public with a glimpse into the significant contribution they make daily in protecting people and communities."

Belfast Telegraph

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