First Staffordshire Bull Terrier to work in police retires from Gloucestershire Constabulary

PC Claire Todd will adopt Stella after she retires. Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary

The first Staffordshire Bull Terrier to ever work for the police in the UK will retire after more than eight years of service in Gloucestershire.

Police dog Stella joined Gloucestershire Constabulary in 2014 after being rescued by the RSPCA in Somerset while she was a stray.

During her years of service she's been trained to search for drugs, money, firearms and ammunition.

The nine-year-old dog has also performed at Crufts and has received an Animal Hero Award.

Her handler PC Claire Todd has been a part of Stella’s police dog career from the very beginning, and will adopt her following her retirement.

  • Watch PC Claire Todd and Stella visit the ITV News West Country Studios in 2015

"It's been a pleasure working with Stella for the past eight and a half years", she said.

"From the first day I met her back in 2014, I knew she was a very special rescue dog with massive potential.

"Stella has taught me so much about Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and what loyal, loving and intelligent dogs they are.

"She passed her drugs, cash and firearms recovery course in just four weeks, compared to the usual six.

Stella was awarded an Animal Hero Award in 2015 Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary

"Stella has clearly loved every moment of her job. To her it's been fun – she searches, gets her ball and loves every moment, but she doesn’t know how important her role in the Force has been.”

Stella has also visited schools for talks and demonstrations and has been used to help people overcome their fears of dogs.

"Stella has broken down barriers within the communities, as everyone has wanted to chat about her,” PC Claire Todd said.

Police dog Stella will complete her last day of service tomorrow (September 17) Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary

"Even some of the prisoners have been so much more engaging with Stella present on searches - shocked and thrilled that a Staffie is a police dog. 

"So many people who have been scared of dogs have overcome their fear when meeting Stella due to her gentle loving nature with everyone she meets.  

"I'm so very proud of Stella and proud that the Constabulary gave her a chance back in 2014 to be the first Staffie police Dog in the UK."