Prior to joining the CNC I did a degree and worked for the NHS. I have been a dog handler for 10 years now and have a General Purpose police dog and a Specialist Search dog.
Each shift is different, but typically we will conduct a number of off-site and on-site patrols and other tasks similar to what other CNC Authorised Firearms Officers do. Although I am a dog handler, I still carry a firearm, just like all other CNC police officers.
The training required to become a dog handler is intensive, both for the officer and for the dog! But the hard work is worth it and I get real job satisfaction from watching my dogs develop and working as part of a team in a specialist role.
Being a dog handler comes with a lot of responsibility and is a very active role, involving a lot of exercise and walking, both on and off duty. Like other front-line CNC police officers, we do shifts, so that includes nights as well.
CNC General Purpose police dogs are trained not to get phased by distractions such as loud noises or bangs. This is because our officers carry firearms and the dogs have to be able to do what they need to do without being distracted or put off.
As a dog team, we enhance the team’s capability and know that our unique skills improve the safety of our colleagues and the public.
The best part of my job is being with the dogs and working hard to constantly develop our skills – I get so much out of it. I home kennel them so I'm with them 24/7, we have a close bond, just like all police dog handler teams.
When our dogs retire, the handler has the option to keep them at home, which most handlers do as they have built up such a good bond over the years of service together. He will get to put his feet up while the hard work for me starts all over again!