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Sussex police show their ‘Puppy Love’ this Valentines Day

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Swap a candlelit supper for a rawhide chew in front of the fire and a bunch of red roses for a ball on a rope and you have every dog’s recipe for the perfect Valentine’s Day.

sussex police dogs
PD Mason (top left), PD Basil (top right), PD Basil and PD Gem (bottom left), PD Ollie (bottom right).

Police dog handlers in Sussex are showing the love for their canine friends this 14 February by celebrating the remarkable work carried out by their four-legged colleagues across the county.

Gem, Ollie, Basil and Mason are just four of the dogs who work across Sussex and Surrey and who feature in Sussex Police’s ‘Puppy Love Dating’ service. Unfortunately, there’s little chance of them sharing their affections as they only have eyes for their handlers, but their often brave work normally goes unheralded.

While the general perception of a police dog may be a big, hairy, noisy German Shepherd like Gem, a general purpose police dog who is five-years-old and works across the county, various breeds are used according to their various traits and abilities. Mason, an eight-year-old Labrador and Ollie, a six-year-old Brittany spaniel are both explosive search dogs at Gatwick and while a lot of their work is behind the scenes, passengers may see them working around the public areas of the airport. Basil, 8, is a cocker spaniel and he is used as a drugs search dog across Sussex.

The force also uses springer and cocker spaniels and Belgian Malinois, but that doesn’t discount using other breeds or even crosses if they are up to the job.

The dogs are selected as puppies, sometimes from litters bred by the dog unit, and are then fostered into families in Sussex and Surrey who socialise them and get them used to the world. During this time, they come back to us for puppy training and if after a year they are assessed as suitable, they start dog school. Training varies according to specialism but ranges from six weeks for a drugs detection dog to 12 weeks for a general purpose dog.

Last year, police dogs in Sussex and Surrey attended 13,140 incidents – that’s 36 a day – and were involved in 938 arrests and finding 104 missing people. They undertook 703 drugs, firearms and currency searches, which seized an incredible £563,000 in cash and nearly £650,000 worth of drugs. Talk about worth their weight in gold!

They go places a human would never be able to, cover large areas a whole lot more quickly and their amazing sense of smell is put to good use every day, sniffing out people from hundreds of yards away and having a nose for all sorts of illicit things. Above all else, they are faithful and brave and many a dog handler has been thankful for their chum getting them out of a sticky and sometimes dangerous situation.

If you are interested in becoming a police puppy foster family, you can email kennelattendants@surrey.pnn.police.uk for more information, but be aware that when they go off to dog school, they probably won’t be coming back!

Community

Covid-19: Crawley businesses come together to support the local community

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Local businesses in Crawley have come together to provide vital support to Crawley Borough Council’s community food supply aid efforts.  

Late last week, Councillor Peter Lamb, with the help of BBC Sussex, Steve Sawyer from Manor Royal BID and Reverend Steve Burston from St John’s Church, sent out a call for help from businesses who were able to assist with the coordination of a distribution centre by providing access to forklift vehicles, pallet trucks and by donating supplies of cardboard boxes and food, as well as offering staff time.

A number of businesses responded, including:

  • Gatwick Forklifts – 12 pallet trucks, vans and an articulated lorry
  • Viridor – forklift, skips and pallet trucks
  • Transvalair – forklifts, pallet trucks and distribution vehicles
  • Tesco.com – supply of cardboard boxes
  • DHL – cardboard boxes
  • M&S Food Hall, Acorn Retail Park – cardboard boxes and surplus food
  • Higgidy Ltd – cardboard boxes
  • UK Harvest50 crates of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Gatwick Handling – forklift and pallet trucks and picked up the goods from Aldi
  • Sussex Camper Vans – van for cardboard box delivery.

The council is very grateful to the ALDI store in Acorn Retail Park, with whom it has partnered to provide basic and essential food supplies for the town’s most vulnerable residents.

Managed by council staff and contractors, the distribution hub will receive and manage food and other essential items from suppliers, action requests from the Help Hub team, pick and pack items and deliver parcels directly to people in their homes.

The Help Hub is a single point of contact for vulnerable residents, connecting them with help from council teams or the wide range of voluntary and charitable activity in the town. They will also support community pharmacies to directly deliver medical supplies where needed and call our most vulnerable residents to check on them.

Leader of the council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said:

“I am extremely grateful for the support of all the local businesses, who have donated their time and resources in assisting us in setting up the distribution hub.

“It is vital we that we support our most vulnerable residents during this difficult time and the distribution hub will ensure they can stay safe inside their homes and have access to the supplies they need.”

Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District, Steve Sawyer, said:

“It’s never been more important for us to pull together as a town. The council is doing a great job supporting our most vulnerable and it was brilliant to see how willingly Manor Royal companies stepped up when called on for help.”

Reverend Steve Burston from St John’s Church said:

“We are in strange and trying times, but the way businesses and volunteers from charities and Crawley Borough Council have joined together so quickly has been a great example of how our local community comes together to love our neighbours – we will need that love in the coming weeks.

“Thank you to Dan at Sussex Camper Vans for the use of a van, to our #LoveYourNeighbour volunteers who picked up the boxes, to James at Higgidy Ltd for thousands of boxes and for the amazing Crawley Borough Council team at K2 Crawley.”

If you are vulnerable and need assistance, please call 01293 438000 between 8.30am-5pm. Alternatively, you can email or complete an e-form

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