The statue, created by John Doubleday, stands proud in Oaklands Park in Chelmsford, Essex.
Heroes, but fluffy
The National K9 Police Dog Memorial, as it is to be known, was the brainpup of former Essex Police dog handler Paul Nicholls. His own dog partner, Sabre, died in 2006 – and Nicholls has devoted his spare time to raising £60,000 for the statue.
“I just sat there and sobbed my heart out,” after Sabre died of cancer, says Nicholls. “I couldn't cope without my best pal and he was my inspiration to get where I have now after 13 years.”
The statue will surely be honoured by the cocked leg of many a passing pet. Although there is already a plaque with a similar purpose in Staffordshire, campaigners felt their brave doggos deserved a more substantial memorial.
Doubleday’s sculpture is intended to “draw attention to the dogs, rather than the handler,” according to the BBC, by featuring a police officer on his knees between an Alsatian and a cocker spaniel.
“They really are the unsung heroes of the police service,” continues Nicholls. “They do so much people don't see.”
Ludo, the model for the statue’s spaniel, showed up for the unveiling with handler PC Gavin Morgan, and the Bishop of Chelmsford did a turn. Next, it was up to Commissioner Dick to say a word for the good boys and girls of the force.
“Sometimes police dogs have lost their lives in the course of their duty,” she said. “Hence it is really important that we have a memorial like this and that the public is aware of the work they do.”
The ceremony included a display by serving dogs who ‘apprehended’ a number of dummy criminals.
It’s been a good week for dogs in the force. Finn’s law, named after a cop dog who was stabbed on duty in 2016, was given Royal Assent, so that it’s now a criminal offence to cause a service animal to suffer unnecessarily.