Northumbria Police’s dog section has been handed an early Christmas present – six newly-licenced police pooches.
Earlier this year, the Force welcomed nine adorable puppies who began their training by meeting members of the public.
That was the beginning of a training period that lasts up to two years before some of the pups eventually receive their licence to be police dogs.
As winter approaches the six-month-old puppies will curl up next to the fireplace and wait for Santa to deliver them their Christmas bone.
But the same can’t be said for six other members of the dog section – who will be tracking criminals and fighting crime across the region.
That’s because Bowson, Eddy, Nitro, Obi, Odey and Oakley have all passed more than a year of doggy exams to qualify as fully-licensed police dogs.
German Shepherds Obi, Odey and Oakley are actually brothers and will now look forward to a life of fighting crime as a family.
Sergeant Julie Neve oversaw the training of the new recruits and will even be responsible for newly-qualified Obi until his handler recovers from a dislocated shoulder.
She said: “Our police dogs are a really vital resource when it comes to tackling crime, pursuing offenders and recovering vital evidence.
“We would not be as successful as we are if we did not have the ability to call upon them to help support our frontline officers.
“The recruitment process for our dogs is very rigorous and many dogs will not make it past that final hurdle.
“For the past 15 months they have been getting used to different environments, learning how to track and being put through a number of training drills.
“To be a successful police dog the animal must have the right temperament and be physically fit enough to do the job. These six dogs really are the elite.
“Hopefully they can go on for a long and successful career here in Northumbria and we will make sure we keep the public updated on their progress.”
Dog handlers at Northumbria Police each have one general purpose dog and one specialist dog which is trained in tracking drugs, explosives, firearms or blood.
The animals live with their handlers and their success in the role is built upon the relationship the handler and dog have outside of work.
Those police dogs who do not make the grade will be re-homed to a loving family after checks are made by police to ensure they go to a suitable home.
To follow the progress of the newly-licensed dog, the dogs already working in the dog section and the police puppies, then follow @NPDogSection on Twitter.