A newly-trained police dog on his very first shift helped to track down a missing mother and baby who were at "significant risk of harm".
German shepherd cross Max and his handler PC Pete Lloyd, from the Dyfed Powys Police dog training unit, found the two on the edge of a steep ravine after an extensive search.
The woman and her one-year-old son had spent the night outdoors in a remote area of Powys and concern for their welfare was growing.
Two-year-old Max was called to duty just before midday on Saturday 1 August and swiftly put his training into action, covering a significant distance to find the missing two.
Inspector Jonathan Rees-Jones said: “The woman had not been seen or spoken to for two days, which was out of character, and her phone wasn’t working, so naturally concern for her safety was high.“Response officers, neighbourhood policing teams and specialist search officers were dispatched to her home, and enquiries were carried out to try and trace her steps.“Thanks to excellent work between teams, the woman’s car was quickly found on a mountain road. Although this gave officers a location to search from, there was still a vast area to cover, given the amount of time she had been missing.“This is where PD Max’s tracking skills really came into play. Despite only recently becoming licensed, and on his first operational shift, he immediately commenced an open area search.”With support from Brecon Mountain Rescue Team and a police helicopter, along with advice from a search expert, additional units were deployed to assist in searching the area, which included a small reservoir and woodland.At around 1.30pm, guided by Max, PC Lloyd spotted the missing woman waving for help near a steep ravine on the mountainside.The woman was helped down and both she and her baby were checked over by a mountain rescue doctor and the ambulance service.
PC Lloyd had only joined the Dyfed-Powys Police dog section in February, and was on his first operational shift with Max when the woman was reported missing.Max is a general purpose dog, who will primarily be used for tracking and locating people in buildings and open air, tracing discarded property and tracking and detaining suspects.PC Lloyd said: “I was really pleased that during our first operational deployment as a dog team, myself and Max were able to safely locate the missing mother and baby.
"Max remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable when he reacted to the call for help which resulted in us locating them.”Inspector Rees-Jones added: “Extensive searches of the area were undertaken by officers, supported by specialist assets such as the dog unit and the helicopter, with advice from a police search adviser.“Thankfully, after an hour and a half of searching, the mum and baby were found. They were safe, but cold, and appeared to have been in the area for a significant amount of time.“This was a fantastic co-ordinated and determined team effort from everyone involved, which no doubt ensured the safety of the mum and baby who were at significant risk of harm.“I must give a special mention to PC Pete Lloyd and Max, who on their very first day since completing their training together covered a significant amount of mileage in the search, eventually locating them safe.”