A police officer from North Wales and her four-legged companion have been named as the UK’s top crimefighting duo.
PC Kelly Walker, 37, from Broughton and her police dog PD Bart, have been recognised by the Thin Blue Paw Awards, a charity which supports working and retired police dogs.
The award recognises a serving police dog and handler team who are constantly achieving outstanding operational results.
PC Walker first joined the police in 2006 and previously worked as a response officer before joining the Cheshire and North Wales Police Dog Unit in 2017.
She said she always dreamed of being a dog handler and was soon partnered with Dutch herder PD Bart, who had been transferred from West Midlands Police.
“It was my ambition as a little girl to be a dog handler, and I’ve stuck with it. My family would say it’s because they wouldn’t let me have a dog as a child! Now, I can’t believe that I get to do my dream job every day.”
She says she has particular affection to PD Bart.
“He’s so loyal, determined and fearless; he’s a proper partner in crime! He can also be very cheeky and troublesome too, though!”
And PD Bart is not the only dog in the family. PC Walker also has three year old springer spaniel PD Bryn, who works as a sniffer dog.
The pair showed their courage when dealing with a domestic violence incident in North Wales in May.
Both were sent to track a man who had assaulted his partner and threatened an off-duty police officer with a large knife.
PC Walker said: “The man made off with his victim and with a knife so we were incredibly concerned about their welfare. We found them together and took her to safety but then he made off again.
"Bart found him hiding in thick undergrowth; the drone couldn’t see him but Bart knew he was there.
“While he was tracking him he put his paw through a pane of glass and sliced his toe in half. But he carried on searching and protecting me from the suspect, armed with a knife, who was potentially dangerous.
"He wouldn’t give up, despite his injury, which just goes to show how tenacious he is.”
PD Bart was taken for veterinary care and made a full recovery.
Kieran Stanbridge, from the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, said: “Kelly and Bart go above and beyond on a daily basis to not only do their day job which involves fighting crime, keeping the public safe and bringing criminals to justice, but also go so much further.
“They’ve both shown their commitment to the job that they do, as well as to making a change and improving the lives of police dogs working today and in the future to keep our public safe."