Police bring puppy power to streets of Sunderland

Northumbria Police's newest recruits proved to be an arresting sight when they took to the streets of Sunderland today.

Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 2:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st August 2016, 3:36 pm
New police puppies launch to find names.
Dog handlers Sgt Julie Neve with Sean Defty and son Oscar Defty aged 16 months
New police puppies launch to find names. Dog handlers Sgt Julie Neve with Sean Defty and son Oscar Defty aged 16 months

Sgt Julie Neve and her team took three of their new cocker spaniel puppies out to meet the public in Market Square.

Families flocked round for a chance to stroke the star attractions and offer suggestions for the puppies’ names.

New police puppies launch to find names. Dog handlers Sgt Julie Neve with Sean Defty and son Oscar Defty aged 16 months

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There was only one condition - all the suggestions had to begin with the letter ‘G’.

“We use different letters of the alphabet to keep track of things such as how old they are, which breeder they came from, and which litter they belong to,” said Julie.

“It makes things much easier for us.”

If the puppies make it through training, they will join the force as explosives sniffer dogs.

New police puppies launch to find names. Dog handlers Sgt Julie Neve and PC Steve Henry

“For explosives work, we find cockers make the best sniffer dogs because of their work ethic - they are very hard workers,” said Julie.

“Their size is good too, for when we’re going into hotels and places like that.

“They’re not so much use for crowd control, although they CAN stop a crowd - you bring one of these out and everybody just stands there and goes ‘Aw.’’”

Julie joined the force 16 years ago and has been part of the dog section for the last 14. Events such as today’s outing gave the puppies a chance to get used to crowds from an early age and also allowed the public to have an insight into the work of the police dog section, she said: “The reaction from the public has been fantastic.

New police puppies launch to find names.

“People have loved it and it and it has gone really well.

“And it is nice to give people some idea of what we do. For a long time, people didn’t know much about it, but are things are better now.”

New police puppies launch to find names. Dog handlers Sgt Julie Neve with Sean Defty and son Oscar Defty aged 16 months
New police puppies launch to find names. Dog handlers Sgt Julie Neve and PC Steve Henry
New police puppies launch to find names.