A day in the life of a Humberside Police dog
Not only are dogs a man’s best friend, but they are also man’s best defender as police dogs regularly keep our communities safe.
PC Steve Matthews has shared what a day in the life looks like for police dogs Toby and Sapphire.
5 am: I will get up, feed the dogs, and give them a good run around the garden. They tend to have a lot of energy first thing in the morning.
6 am: The night shift will hand over to us about what’s happened overnight, if there are any outstanding actions we need to take on or whether they need relief from an ongoing scene.
6.30 am: We go to our specific dog walking field to give the dogs a chance to get some extra early morning exercise.
7 am: We’re booked on and ready to help our communities. Our role is to support all commands across the full Force area, particularly 999 calls for emergencies and occasions where individuals may be likely to try and run, fight, or threaten others with weapons.
7.30 am: It’s time for a briefing at Clough Road about a drugs warrant in Hull. PD Toby’s expert nose is going to be needed for this one, as we suspect that Class A drugs and cash are hidden within the property.
8 am: The door goes in, and officers flood the property, covering all possible exits. An arrest is made, and they are escorted out into the box van parked outside. Once the officers have had a quick comb through inside and vacated to give us space to work, it’s time for us to enter and get looking for those drugs and cash.
10 am: The nose never fails! A quantity of cash and drugs are found hidden, and Toby is feeling very pleased with himself. He gets playtime with his favorite tennis ball as a reward and our job is done on this one. We’ll leave the rest of the officers to wrap up the scene and deal with the suspect.
10.30 am: We’re heading to our training grounds to do some obedience training. Constant training is important for us to remain licensed to work and make sure things are under control when we’re at a live job.
11.30 am: A call has come in to say a vehicle that was stolen in Scunthorpe last night is heading our way. We get back in the car and are led, alongside our roads colleagues, by our force control room to an eventual point of the pursuit of the vehicle. As the vehicle is failing to stop for us, a containment is authorized, and a forced stop is conducted. The occupants begin to run away from the car, but too bad for them, our dog vehicles are specially adapted so that at a push of a button, PD Sapphire can be instantly out of the car and run after them. They think they can run and hide, but no one gets away from Saffy. They’re detained and sent on their way to custody.
1.30 pm: This is usually time for a coffee and a quick bite to eat. We don’t often take breaks, but it provides a good opportunity to let the dogs have a runaround and play. I can catch up on emails too in the car on my laptop.
2 pm: We’ve now had a call that a suspected drug dealer has been detained in a secluded wooded spot by our plain-clothed officers. They’ve seen him discard a suspicious bag but can’t locate it in the messy woodland. Time for PD Toby to get back to work and sniff out this bag.
2.30 pm: The area is cleared for Toby to do his thing. It’s easier for him to work without distractions. Not long after, he’s located a blue carrier bag hidden in some bushes right at the back of the woodland. It contains about 50 bags of cannabis, worth hundreds of pounds. A job well done! The suspect is taken into custody with something to answer to.
4 pm: It’s reported that a man is in the street kicking over bins and waving a kitchen knife around. Whilst there’s no one around at the minute, we need to get there to neutralize the threat before anyone gets hurt. We’re on our way to support other uniformed officers.
4.30 pm: The sight of PD Sapphire’s teeth is enough to make the man surrender without running – good thinking! He does however throw the knife quite far down the street and it’s out of sight. Whilst a member of the public comes across it first on this occasion, one of PD Sapphire’s capabilities is tracking items that have been touched by humans. The knife is seized, and the suspect is led away.
6 pm: We’ll do some organising of our kit and give the dogs another walk to burn off the last of their energy for the day. It’s been a busy but successful one for us today. We can be deployed to a full range of incidents, with some of the other common occurrences being street fights, domestic incidents where there is a threat of violence, commercial burglary sites where suspects are thought to still be inside, and firearms deployments. These types of jobs are most common on our night shifts.
7pm: Home time! The dogs can put their paws up to another good day on the job. They love a day of locking up baddies!