Prison Service National Dog Trials 2001
H.M. Prison Service National Dog Trials were held at the H.M. Prison Officers
Service College, Newbold Revel, Warks. from 5th to 8th September 2001.
tests comprised search for person(s), search for property, obedience,
agility and criminal work. Fourteen competitors took part normally selected
by eliminating competitions throughout the country. The elimination trials
in the early part of the year had been cancelled due to Foot and Mouth
and selection this year for the Nationals was by nomination.
was judged by P.O./H Dave Harrison from Belmarsh and S.O. D/H John Stiff
from Full Sutton Prison. The exercise was set in about 15 acres of Woodland
within the grounds of the College. The area was split through the centre
by a ride and fire break. Although the area was ideal there was a restriction
on areas again because of Foot and Mouth.
General of H.M. Prison Service watching the trials with Commissioner
Want Gud-Feng of the Chinese Police Dog Training School
handlers were instructed that there were two persons in the area which
the dog had to locate. One in fact was rather close to the start point
and if the handler went too far into the woodland, because of the direction
of the wind, the scent could in fact be behind him. This however did not
cause any problems. The first person was accessible to the dog, the second
on the same side of the ridge was 15 feet up a tree. There was no biting
which compliments the standard of control. Every dog found at least one
person with the majority find both. Unlike the search results in 2000
results mainly were far from disappointing with half of the dogs being
awarded over 100 marks from the 130 allocated to this exercise.
Judge for this exercise was P.O. D/H John Stringer, Bristol and S.O. D/H
John Sheehan from Manchester Prisons. The location again because of Foot
and Mouth was limited and the selection area was open meadow within the
College Grounds and on short grass.
search area was 25 metres square and the articles kept small because of
the area. They were a metal “D” ring from a mail bag, a 1” piece of green
scouring pad and a 3/4” piece of hardwood. The articles were well scented
by the steward prior to being place in the search area.
Wang with Steve Allen OIC - H.M Prison Dogs
half the dogs obtained over 50% of the marks for this exercise. Because
of the articles being kept small this did in fact create a problem for
Simon Thompson with Max from Full Sutton in that his dog swallowed the
1” square piece of scouring pad. Apparently it stuck to the dog’s tongue,
the handler tried to retrieve it but down it went. Although he presented
to the judge next day no marks were awarded. Judges comment “You are out
of time”. “Max is only 15 months and this is the first time he has been
entered in Trials.”
Judge for these exercises was P.O. John Stringer and set out on the playing
field in the grounds of the College.
exercise commenced with Heelwork off the Lead, a really good long and
practical test with normal, slow and fast pace being demonstrated. Halts
were in the down, sit and stand.
‘Retrieve’ article was a small bunch of keys, not the easiest of articles,
although very few dogs had any difficulty which one would expect from
a Prison Service Dog. All dogs were German Shepherds. The handler was
required to through the keys a distance of about 30 metres, send his dog
on command, retrieve into the present position, take the article then
heel the dog.
‘Speak on Command’ was done with the handlers back to the dog. This was
done twice with the speak and the cease. There were no real problems.
was followed with the 3’ hurdle and a 9’ long jump. All dogs that I saw
cleared the hurdle. As is usual the long jump had the odd failure.
‘Distance Control’ with the dog being left in the sit position at about
30 metres. The handler was required to put his dog from the stand into
the sit, down and sit and then return in that order. The exercise was
well executed although some dogs, because of moving into the positions
wrongly, by the end of the exercise had moved forward well over their
body length in distance.
Ian Fletcher with Maverick
last exercise in the obedience and probably the most difficult and which
usually sorts the ‘men from the boys’, the ‘Send Away & Redirection’.
The dog was required to be sent straight out to a marker, a distance of
about 200 metres. The redirection was to the handlers right or left, a
distance again of about 200 metres. Some dogs had difficulty distracted
by a small pile of sand. Results from this exercise were fairly good and
I think there was a distinct improvement from last year.
‘10 minute down’ with the handlers out of sight. This exercise was well
The culmination and the highlight of any Prison Service Trials is the
Criminal Work. The Judge was P.O. Dave Harrison and this was located on
the College sports field.
exercises commenced with the gun exercise but as one would expect with
Prison Service dogs they had no difficulty with this or the very determined
stick exercise which followed. These Prison Service dogs were hard, really
hard but control was a pleasure to watch and as good as I have ever seen
at any Service or Police Dog Trial.
chase followed which was extremely long. The dog is held on the lead for
all exercises, something that is done in Prison Service Trials but not
in the Police equivalent. Personally I prefer a dog to be off the lead
throughout all criminal work exercises although this is not a requirement
in the Prison Service Trials Schedule. Whether on or off the lead neither
the handlers or dogs can be criticised. Again they all chased in an extremely
determined manner and the ‘stop’ and detention of the criminal was equally
as determined. Control once again was excellent. The chase exercise was
followed with a search and escort.
‘Recall’ again a repeat of the chase was fairly lengthy. The last exercise
and following the determined stick and gun attack, the very long chase,
the dogs by now were on edge. The dog was recalled at about 100 metres.
I did not see any dog fail this exercise and the majority of dogs came
back on the first command. It was an incredible performance by the Prison
Service Dog Section and like all other exercises a pleasure to watch.
The set an extremely high standard.
an invited guest it is always a pleasure to attend these trials. I think
the Prison Service are setting and maintaining every year a very, very
high standard. There has been the Foot and Mouth which has restricted
training. These tests are not made easy, the standard is either maintained
or in the case of the recall and send away it improves every year. The
search for person was much better this year than last and I am sure that
this was noted by the officers in charge last year and the improvement
was very evident. The two exercises, the recall and the send away I understand
are once again to be included in Police Dog Trials. This now reasonably
perfected performance by the majority of dogs from the Prison Service
should be noted.
venue, the Prison Service College is ideal for this type of event with
many acres of well kept park and woodland. The lay out for the final day
with a spectacular floral display was a credit to the college ground staff.
The weather was also very kind. The cheerful and extremely helpful stewards
advising and other people supplying coffee, tea and biscuits was really
appreciated. The head of the Prison Dog Service Steve Allen and his Senior
Officers were always at hand to answer questions. An overseas visitor
and observer was Commission Want Guo-Feng from the Chinese Police Dog
Training School in Shenyang, China.
The culmination was the Presentation on this the 31st National Prison
Service Dog Trial attended by the Director General Martin Narey.
were as follows:
& National Champion for the third year running with increased marks Officer
D/H Ian Fletcher, H.M.P. Whitemoor with his German Shepherd Dog “Maverick”,
690 marks from a possible 750.
Place Officer D/H. R Liggins, H.M.P. Frankland with his German Shepherd
Dog “Kramer” with 618 marks.
Place Officer D/H C McCann, H.M.P. Long Lartin with his German Shepherd
Dog “Chimo” with 604 marks.