Thin Blue Paw Awards: Suicide-prevention dog wins

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German shepherd Calli and PC Megan WestImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
German shepherd Calli and PC Megan West won the lifesaver award

A police dog and its handler who helped prevent a suicide attempt are among the winners at an inaugural bravery awards.

Kent Police German shepherd Calli and PC Megan West won the lifesaver honour at the Thin Blue Paw Awards at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire.

In June, Calli picked up a scent and the pair found a man who said he would take his own life, leading to PC West administering first aid.

A Northamptonshire dog and handler also won the lifetime achievement award.

West Midlands Police dog Stark and PC Paul Hopley received the outstanding bravery award for an incident when they responded to reports of attempted break-ins at a Staffordshire allotment on 14 December.

The suspect struck Stark at least 20 times with a machete - leaving him with deep lacerations on his head and covered in blood.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Stark returned to duties four weeks after the attack

Stark still managed to drag the attacker away as PC Hopley subdued him with an aerosol similar to pepper spray.

Other winners included two-year-old Labrador Elvis, and his handler PC Colin Nash, for sniffing out knives from the streets of London and identifying county lines victims.

Northamptonshire German Shepherd Nala - who found two suspects hiding under a caravan after being struck in the face with a crowbar in 2016 - was given the lifetime achievement award with her handler PC Sean Foster.

Special recognition was given to PC Darren Sewell from the Leicestershire force who has been a dog handler, firearms support handler and trainer during his 22 years as a front line officer.

He currently cares for PD Jura and PD Gilly and has been undergoing chemotherapy since being diagnosed with stage four lymphoma last year.

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation co-founder Kieran Stanbridge said: "As a charity, we want to support these dogs to live long and happy lives when they retire, but we also want to acknowledge, recognise and celebrate the dogs, police dog handlers, and duos who have made a real difference in their communities."

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