Police dog Nala hangs up her police collar after seven years of combatting crime across Northamptonshire

The nine-year-old German Shepherd received a special guard of honour at the Northamptonshire Police headquarters last week

Friday, 21st May 2021, 1:37 pm
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 1:38 pm

One of Northamptonshire Police's longest serving police dogs, PD Nala, has retired from the force after seven years of service.

It was an "emotional" farewell for the nine-year-old German Shepherd, who received a special guard of honour from her four-legged colleagues at Northamptonshire Police headquarters last Wednesday (May 12).

PD Nala's handler, PC Sean Foster - looking back on their policing career together - said: "Working alongside Nala for the past seven years has been an honour and a privilege. She will now spend her days relaxing at home, being showered by affection from my two young daughters who adore her.

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PD Nala is retiring from Northamptonshire Police after seven years on the job.

“I am currently in the process of licensing with a second police dog, Duke, who - with Nala as his teacher - I’m absolutely confident will follow in her paw-steps and achieve some fantastic results for the force.”

Nala was presented with a personalised dog-friendly celebration cake after speeches were given by Chief Constable Nick Adderley and Chief Inspector Sarah-Louise Parrott. The cake, unfortunately, did not last long enough to be shared with Nala's other four-legged colleagues!

Nala and PC Foster passed through a guard of honour cheered on by the Chief Constable Adderley, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold and Chief Inspector Parrott as well as PDs Socks, Olly, Ebby and Rosie along with their handlers.

Police, fire and crime commissioner, Stephen Mold, said: "Nala has done a truly tremendous job over the last seven years for the police service. Although I’m sure she will be missed by her colleagues she has very much earned this retirement.

PC Sean Foster (left) with PD Nala and Chief Constable Nick Adderley (right).

“The main focus of Northamptonshire Police is to keep the people of this county safe, and Nala and the rest of the police dogs section do a wonderful job in fulfilling that purpose by helping to locate the people who have committed crimes in our community so that they can be brought to justice.”

Nala was born on April 15 in 2012 as part of a West Midlands Police dog breeding programme. She joined Northamptonshire Police as a general purpose police dog after successfully completing her initial course licencing alongside her handler, PC Foster, in February 2014.

In the seven years that have passed since her licensing, Nala has played a huge part in protecting the people of Northamptonshire.

Her most recent achievement included tracking down a burglar and recovering multiple weapons as well as stolen items after diligently searching an area for two hours.

Her handler, PC Foster, added: "This is just one example of Nala’s greatest strengths - her phenomenal scent work, being able to swiftly and successfully track suspects, find hidden or missing persons as well as locate stolen property.

"She has a great temperament and this is shown by her ability to work across many teams, including routinely working alongside uniformed and plainclothes operations with her dedicated firearms support role.”

Northamptonshire Police's decision to assign collar numbers to all of their police dogs to mark the introduction of Finn's Law in 2019 means that Nala's collar number of PD1 will retire alongside her.

Nala will be supported by the Thin Blue Paw Foundation throughout her retirement, which supports serving and retired police dogs across the UK. They provide much needed financial support to the unsung canine heroes whose vet bills are unable to be covered by insurance due to their working life.

Chief Constable Nick Adderley, looking back on Nala’s achievements, said: “The unique crime fighting capabilities of our police dogs are second to none - they track and detain suspects across great distances, provide emotional support to missing people who may be at their lowest, using their heightened senses to locate cash, drugs and firearms, to name just a few. They put their life on the line every day to protect their handlers, fight crime and protect the people of Northamptonshire.

“I am pleased we were able to take the time to shine a light on the policing career of Nala who, as all of our police dogs have, have dedicated the majority of their lives to policing from the shadows, rooting out criminality and doing their part to ensure the people of Northamptonshire can live as safe and crime-free as possible.”

To find out more information about the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, visit their website at https://www.thinbluepaw.org.uk/.