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Dogs put to the test
By

SCORES of police dogs and handlers from across the eastern region are being pushed to the limit this week as they compete in the annual regional trials.

Twelve duos from across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire are being judged on a variety of disciplines, including pursuing criminals, searching, obedience and agility.

In February this year, dog handlers made 44 direct arrests and assisted in the arrests of a further 81 suspects.

They also provided assistance in drugs raids, public order deployment and firearms support.

Inspector Michael Ling, who heads Hertfordshire's dog section, said: "We are thrilled to be hosting these trials, which provide the competitors with an excellent opportunity to display their skills in a whole host of areas which support operational policing.

"Dog teams are an integral part of the police service, be it general purpose dogs or the ever-increasing variety of specialist dogs that are now being used to support front line operations.

"They are a key resource in helping us transfer the fear of crime onto the offenders.

"The exercises that they will be undertaking during the trials are highly relevant to their operational roles."

The event is taking place at Police Headquarters, in Welwyn Garden City. It started yesterday and continues today.

It has been supported by Magnum Essential Equipment; Coleman Green Kennels near Wheathampstead; Harlequin Agility Training Society in Bayford and Professional Dog Supplies in Kinsbourne Green near Harpenden.

12:06pmThursday30thMarch2006

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