'We simply couldn’t keep south Wales safe without them': Force celebrates 60 years of police dogs

South Wales Police is celebrating 60 years since police dogs were brought in and trained to tackle crime alongside officers.

Glamorgan Constabulary opened its dog section in 1960, appointing Bess, Bruce, Carl and Cora as its first four dogs.

Police dogs have different specialist skills including being able to detect drugs, money, firearms and explosives.

They are also used to help find missing and wanted people using their heightened sense of smell.

South Wales Police said: "60 years ago today the doors of our dog section opened for the first time!

"Since 1960, our dedicated handlers have trained their four-legged companions to help us tackle the ever-changing nature of crime.

"Our police dogs today are trained to help us detect drugs, currency, firearms, property, and to locate missing and wanted people.

"We simply couldn’t keep South Wales safe without them."

PC Sally Richards has been a dog handler for 16 years. Credit: ITV Wales

For dog handler PC Sally Richards, who has done this job for the last 16 years, the novelty of working with these animals has certainly not worn off.

"i think I've got the best job in the world with my best pal basically.

"It's pretty much 24/ 7 these dogs come home with us so live with us and our families. and your family has to be quite understanding as well as they take up so much of your time."

Her dog Marly will be retiring in around six months time, but these work colleagues plan to do more than stay in touch.

"it's very likely i'll keep him, he's my pal, he comes to work with me, he spends a lot of time with me and i think he'll be looking forward to his retirement in a few months time and put his paws up in front of the fire.

PD Dash retired from Dyfed Powys Police earlier this year after serving more than a decade.

Police dogs can be part of a force for years. In July this year, a Spinger Spaniel retired from Dyfed Powys Police after serving more than a decade with the service.

Throughout his career in West Wales, PD Dash has assisted with county lines drugs operations, and worked with the force's ports unit. He even assisted with searches during the London 2012 Olympics.

His handler, PC John Llewellyn said he couldn't have asked for a better companion.

After spending his whole life living outside as a working dog, PC Llewellyn said Dash took a while to transition. He said he still loves sleeping in the police van.

In 2019 South Wales Police appointed five adorable new German Shepherd puppies. Credit: South Wales Police

Police forces recruit dogs from a young age and will attend regular training sessions, which include general obedience, loose lead walking, tracking games and searching games.

When looking for potential new recruits, officers look for puppies who are energetic, bold, confident and enthusiastic. 

In 2019, South Wales Police appointed five adorable new German Shepherd puppies - four girls and one boy.

They were called Finn, Fudge, Frankie, Faith and Fleur after a social media competition encouraging the public to send in name ideas.