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The South-West’s finest compete for Top Dog

POLICE DOGS and their handlers from across the South-West and Wales are converging on Portishead next month to compete for the title of top dog.

Avon and Somerset Police are hosting this year’s South West and Wales region Police Dog Trials on March 9 and 10 at police headquarters in Valley Road, Portishead - and the public can come and watch.

Around 20 dogs and their handlers from nine different forces will be competing over two days in a variety of exercises and challenges. Places at the national finals in Nottinghamshire in April are up for grabs for the winners.

Dogs and their handlers will face challenges which will test all the skills they use on a daily basis as part of their police work.

Exercises taking place at police headquarters which spectators can watch include:

• Obedience work - getting the dog to obey commands.

• Agility work - including jumping and climbing.

• Criminal work - testing the dog’s courage when faced with a gun attack or an aggressive offender.

Exercises taking place at other locations include:

• Long tracking exercise - the dog follows a trail laid by a person two hours previously. Along the way it must discover evidence left by the person.

• Searching exercise - the dog searches an area of woodland looking for evidence which has been hidden, and the two people who hid it.

The head of the force’s mounted and dog section, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this year’s regional trials which are always very competitive and very exciting to watch.

“We hope local people will come along, enjoy the contest and cheer on the two competitors from Avon & Somerset.”

The competition will run from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10, Entry is free and parking is available.

Competitors from Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Avon and Somerset and Gwent police forces are all taking part. They will be joined by dogs and handlers from three east Midlands forces - Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire - who will be competing as guests.

The winners will be chosen by independent judges from the Surrey, Durham and the Metropolitan police forces. Prizes will be awarded for each discipline.

Representing Avon and Somerset will be PC Andrew Lloyd and his dog Frank from Keynsham, and PC Peter Moseley and his dog Ivan from Taunton.

Andrew is a veteran of the event having won the last three regional final in a row as well as winning the national trials. However, he achieved this success with his former police dog Eric, and this year will be police dog Frank’s first trials.

For Peter and police dog Ivan, this year will also be their first event.

“Last year’s trials were cancelled due to Foot and Mouth concerns so everyone is really looking forward to the weekend in March,” said Insp McIver.

For further information please contact Media Relations Officer Will Marsh in the Corporate Communications office on 01275-816350.