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Met Police share tragic story behind their new furry recruits

German Shepherd puppy dog-sad
© GSD Lover - Pixabay

London Metropolitan Police has named its latest litter of police puppies in training after a dedicated officer who lost his life in the line of duty late last year.

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 22/05/2021, 20:00, Updated on the 04/06/2021, 16:23

Sergeant Ratana died in September 2020 when he was shot in the chest while searching a suspect at Croydon Police Station, south London. 

The New-Zealander moved to the UK in 1989 and served in the Met Police for almost 30 years. Tragically, Ratana was only a few months away from retirement when he became the first police officer to be fatally shot in the UK since 2012.

Tributes for a fallen hero

Tributes flooded in for the fallen hero, and now the Met Police has come up with another way to honour one of it's own. The Met named its recent intake of police puppies 'the Ratana litter.' And Sergeant Ratana's former partner, serving police officer Su Bushby, got to name the German Shepherd pups individually.

Ms Bushby chose Matiu, Carter and Jonah for the boys, and Kora, Blu, Valentine and Whanau for the furry female crimefighters. Matiu was Sergent Ratner's first name, and the other names include Maori words for tree, root, and family.

The adorable pups have an excellent pedigree. Their parents are two actively serving police dogs called "Storm" and "Pax". And the new recruits have already caught the eye of the Met's top dog - Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

"I was delighted that we asked Su to name the puppies," said the Commissioner. "Matt was loved and respected. This is just one of the ways for the Met to remember his service and courage. Police dogs and their handlers are invaluable. Because of their work, London is much safer."

A day in the life of a police dog

The pups will hit the streets in around three months. They'll spend most of their time tracking missing persons and sniffing out weapons and other dangerous items. 

When not on duty, police dogs enjoy a normal domestic pooch life with their handlers and families. They're usually retired around their 8th birthday.