From Devon & Cornwall Police:
A Devon and Cornwall police team are among the best dog and handler pairs in the country.
PC Ben Jobes and his dog Ash, based at Camborne, won the Regional Police Dog Trials to become one of only 21 dogs pairs across the country to quality for the national trials and so are in the top 1% of dogs and handlers nationally.
Ash is Ben’s first police dog and the pair have been together for four years – they both celebrate their birthdays on 3 June when Ash is five and Ben is 40. Ben has been a police officer for eleven years. He was a Special Constable for the first three years and was always determined to become a dog handler.
Ben, who has two pet Labradors and lives on the north coast of Cornwall, said: “I always wanted to become a dog handler but it is very competitive. It is the best job in the world, Ash is very much part of the family and I spend virtually every waking hour with her.”
Ben is particularly proud that Ash has already saved numerous lives during her prolific police career. He said: “On one occasion we had been searching for a high risk missing person for five hours on a cold winter’s night. It was just amazing when Ash found him down a mine shaft – he was suffering from hypothermia but there was no doubt she saved his life.”
Ash is also a dab hand at catching criminals and finding discarded weapons. Ben said: “We got a call to a break-in to a builder’s site in the Four Lanes area near Redruth during the early hours of a morning. Ash picked up the scent at the yard and tracked the offender across fields to a nearby housing estate where she found him in a back garden.”
This is the first year that Ben and Ash have competed in any sort of trial, so to qualify for the nationals is quite an achievement. They had a number of challenges to face to get this far winning the Cornwall dog trials, then the Devon, Cornwall and Dorset trials and going on to win the regional trials competing against dogs from Avon and Somerset, Wales, Gloucestershire and British Transport – most of the dogs are either German Shepherds like Ash, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Herders.
Competitors get scored on every discipline police dogs are expected to have – tracking, finding property, searching buildings, chasing criminals, crowd control, obedience and agility where they have to tackle 3ft jumps, scale a 6ft wall, do long jump and jump through a window-style obstacle.
The national trials take part in London later this month and Ben’s colleagues are all keeping their fingers crossed that the pair will come home with some silverware.
Good luck to Ben and Ash.