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Drama in store as West Midlands Police dogs take Crufts centre stage

Wednesday 5 March 2014

An armed robber was floored by a West Midlands Police dog at Crufts after he stormed the Main Arena with a handgun during dramatic scenes watched by a worldwide audience of millions.

The pistol-wielding gunman fired warning shots as he threatened audience members who’d taken centre stage for a drugs search demonstration – but he was swiftly chased down and disarmed by ‘hero’ police dog King.

But don’t panic… it’s all part of a finely-tuned scenario set to be acted out by West Midlands Police’s Dog Unit during four action-packed demos guaranteed to attract adoring glances and gasps in equal measure at Crufts .

The unit will have up to 15 dogs on petting duty across the four days from its stand in Hall 3 (stand 3d) and take part in four demonstrations in the main arena.

Routines include cute and cuddly pups recently born into the force’s acclaimed breed scheme; lively older puppies progressing through the in-house training programme; and fully operational dogs that appear anything but cute and cuddly to criminals!

West Midlands Police Dog Breed Scheme manager, Dave Raymond, said: “We’ll have puppy parades in the arena, which are always popular, and show them getting their little teeth stuck into some basic bite work.

“Our search specialist spaniels will show off their sniffing skills to locate hidden items in the arena and there will be some audience participation during a passive drugs search…and that’s when our ‘armed robber’ scenario will play out. It should be quite dramatic!”

WMP Dog Unit’s demonstrations are at 1.50pm on Thursday, 2.40pm on Saturday and 12.45pm and 5.30pm on Sunday, the latter being a prominent slot shortly before Best in Show and likely to be watched by millions of people across the world.

People can also watch the Sunday lunchtime slot live through the force’s YouTube channel during an online ‘hangout’ hosted by Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman.

Members of the Dog Unit will feature in another YouTube broadcast at 10.30am on Sunday and will take viewers questions using the hashtag #WMPdogs.

Chief Insp Blakeman, said: “We’ll be interviewing some of our dog trainers and handlers… they’ll discuss the force’s dog breed and training scheme, puppy walking, retired dogs, and the range of work carried out by police dogs.”

West Midlands Police runs the largest, most successful police dog breed scheme in the UK – launched in 1994 – with more than 80 per cent of dogs going through the training programme becoming operational and the nemesis of West Midlands criminals!

It’s also achieved Assured Breeder accreditation by the Kennel Club in recognition of its commitment to dog welfare.

Check out the force’s series of Pup Idol videos on YouTube, including the progress of the latest litter of Springer Spaniels.