Like many other police forces in the UK, we only really started using dogs after the end of the Second World War, when it was realised that trained dogs, by using their natural instincts, could play a major role in maintaining law and order and apprehending offenders.
It was in May 1951 that the first two dogs were recruited into the former Birmingham City Police. Their training was carried out at Imber Court, in the Metropolitan Police area.
'Kim' and 'Flash' were the first police dogs to work the streets of Birmingham. In 1960 a trophy, named after Kim, was introduced and is still competed for annually by all handlers and their dogs in the West Midlands.
However, dog training was not without its problems, as some were found to be unsuitable for the role and were replaced as soon as others could be found.
By December the two dogs and their handlers had returned to Birmingham and first patrolled the streets of the city on Christmas Eve 1951.
Following on from this early success, in January 1952 two more dogs and handlers were selected and sent to Imber Court for training.
From those early beginnings, the Dog Section began to grow and in 1959 they moved to their first real home, an old farmhouse affectionately known as 'Home Farm' situated within the grounds of Harborne Golf Club, in a suburb of Birmingham. A small block of brick- built kennels was constructed on land at the rear of the farmhouse and the whole site was initially leased from the golf club for the sum of two pounds and ten shillings per week.
The establishment of the Dog Section continued to grow and, in 1974, following amalgamation with other forces in the area including Coventry, Solihull, Walsall, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton, the days of Birmingham City Police came to an end and West Midlands Police was born, with an establishment of over 100 dog handlers.
By the late 1980s it had become clear that 'Home Farm' at Harborne was becoming overcrowded and a search was begun to locate an alternative site.
During 1992 the current site at Balsall Common, Solihull, was identified and building work commenced. It was officially opened by HRH Prince Michael of Kent on 17 March 1995.
On 30 June 1952, PC A130 Parkes, a probationary constable with seven months' service, disturbed two men at the rear of a premises in Sherlock Street, Birmingham. A chase and struggle ensued during which PC Parkes was stabbed in the neck and arms, narrowly avoiding serious injury. A police dog was deployed to search for the offenders. One of the assailants was arrested at the scene and appeared in court the next morning. After committal to crown court on 10 July he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment, just 10 days after the arrest.
The 1965 annual inspection of the force by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary at Tally Ho! police training centre.