A NEW fund has been set up to try to ensure a happy and healthy retirement for police dogs.

WAGs, funded by chief constables and police and crime commissioners in Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset and Gloucestershire, will fund medical care for anyone who adopts one of the dogs.

They often retire with injuries suffered during their working lives and most of them are difficult to insure because of the specialised training they have received.

PC Marie Poole, a police dog handler, is one of the WAGs trustees. She said: “It is great they are supporting us. People are unaware of how much the dogs work in the community and how integral they are to the police.

“The 24 retired dogs have contributed to detecting crime, often in very dangerous situations. When they are out on duty, we can’t control the environment and that is why injuries can occur.”

Kieran Kilgallen, chief executive of the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners, said: “Police dogs make a big contribution to our work. It would be insensitive not to continue to support them once they have ceased their operational duties.”

Handler Neil Sampson and his police dog Anya retired earlier this year and he donated his retirement collection to pay for the creation and hosting of the WAGs website.

He said: “We are very grateful to the chief constables and PCCs for the contribution of £1,500.”

More details at wags www.retiredpolicedogs.org.