POLICE dog handlers have been praised by the force for their dedication to fighting crime in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Police gave an insight into the hard work that goes on within the dog unit during a meeting at Melksham Town Football Club on Friday morning, January 19.

Members of the section gave attendees an insight into their training and everyday lives while talking about what it's like to be a dog handler.

Several handlers and their dogs showed off their recall skills and keen noses when conducting searches.

The dog handlers and their four-legged colleagues were then presented with their: police dog training certificate; firearms support dog certificate; specialist drugs training certificate; dog commander training certificate or special achievement award by Chief Constable Catherine Roper and dog unit manager Ian Partington.

Salisbury Journal: Wiltshire Police's Dog Section.Wiltshire Police's Dog Section. (Image: Wiltshire Police)

Recently appointed Dog Section sergeant Jon Harwood was keen to acknowledge the team's continued loyalty and enthusiasm.

Sgt Harwood also recognised the various venue owners who generously allow the team to train within their premises.

It was a particularly special occasion as the officers are rarely in the same space as each other as they are normally on shift patterns to cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Chief Constable Catherine Roper said: "As most of you will know, we have three priorities within the Force; safer public spaces, tackling violence and burglary and our dog teams are at the heart of all three and assist us to achieve the best results possible in helping to keep our communities safe.”

To the community members and partners who joined the meeting, she said: “We simply couldn’t accomplish the outcomes we do without those of you in this room who kindly encourage our police dogs and dog handlers to carry out their training in your venues.

"The variety of locations offered both with indoor and outdoor spaces helps push the dogs and their trainers to be the best they can be. And we’d like to thank you and celebrate that.”

Wiltshire Police's dogs are trained in finding a range of items, from people, drugs or weapons to cash, firearms or digital devices.

They can often be found looking after royalty, making sure football matches are kept calm, attending the races at Cheltenham and are regularly called upon to support major national events.