The last 30 years have witnessed a phenomenal growth in the use of dogs by the police, military and the security industry from general duties to specialist detection of drugs, explosives, firearms, explosives and money. As security professionals, this Worshipful Company wished to acknowledge and publicise the valuable work done by dogs and their handlers in the United Kingdom.
Every year, an Award is made for outstanding achievements by working dogs and their handlers in each of these three divisions:
- The Military.
- Law Enforcement
- The Security Industry
Because of the wide range of work undertaken by dogs and their handlers, the criteria for ‘outstanding achievement’ are wide and include: individual heroism; work record achievement; dog training; animal welfare; innovation and long term contribution to working dogs.
Awards can be made to: an individual dog and its handler; a team of dogs and handlers or an individual who has made a lifelong contribution to working dogs.
In 2010, the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals was granted its Royal Charter and in that same year, the, then, Master of the Company, Don Randall, discussed with the, then, Provost Marshall (Army), Brigadier Eddy Foster-Knight, how the Company could recognise and promote the use of working dogs by the military, police and law enforcement agencies. The answer was to make annual awards to dogs and their handlers in the UK military and UK police. The Company formed a Dog Awards Committee under the Master, Don Randall with his Consort, Angie Randall as a co-opted member. This Committee judges all entries and decides on the winners in each category. The first presentations were made in 2010 at The Mansion House by Angie at the annual dinner of the Company. The first winners were: L/Corporal Steven Purdy & Military Working Dog ‘Chocolate’ of 101, Military Working Dogs Regiment for bravery on operations in Afghanistan and the Metropolitan Police Service Dog Breeding Programme for pioneering contributions to international police dog breeding.
The Company realised that an Award was needed for dogs and handlers working in the private security industry and it was agreed to liaise with the National Association of Security Dog Users (NASDU) which held annual national dog trials that included obedience, agility, and security work. It was decided to award the winner of the NASDU trials with our Outstanding Security Dog of the Year Award. The first winner was Yuko and his handler/trainer Stefan Leca in 2015. With the NASDU National Trials no longer being held, the Committee now uses the nomination process outlined in ‘How to Apply’ (above).
Over the years there have been very many outstanding recipients of the Awards in all three divisions. Here is a representative selection:
- Police Service of Northern Ireland Dog Section for courageous and demanding service to the community.
- Charlotte Smith and security/search dogs ‘Marvin’, ‘Candy’, ‘Cooper’ & ‘Freddy’ of ICTS Ltd for general duties, detection and recovery of drugs and pioneering work on the Drugs Detection Dogs in Education programme.
- The Joint Service Canine Training Squadron, Defence Animal Training Regiment for professionalism and innovation in Military working Dog training and husbandry and staffing the animal hospital 24/7 throughout the year.
- Sonni Singh and ‘Blaze’ of Ward Security for sustained outstanding performance in security work.
- Constable David Wardell and Police Dog ‘Finn’ of Hertfordshire Constabulary for courage and determination in arresting a violent criminal who inflicted near-fatal wounds on ‘Finn’. After campaigning, the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act,2019, increased the penalties for injuries to Service animals. It is commonly known as ‘Finn’s Law’.
- Flight Sergeant Neil Furnish, RAF Police, for 22 years of service in developing improvements in training, deployment and husbandry of military working dogs.
- Metropolitan Police search & rescue dogs and London Fire Brigade Fire Investigation Dogs for their work at the Grenfell Towers disaster (2017).
- L/Corporal Laura Wallace for outstanding veterinary care and devotion to duty over prolonged hours to 100 military working dogs on operations in Afghanistan.
- Police Scotland Dog Section for ensuring a safe and secure Commonwealth Games (Glasgow, 2014).
- Flight Sergeant Michael ‘Will’ Barrow and ‘Buster’ RAF Police search dog for a lifetime achievement in operational theatres as ‘The dog that saved a 1000 lives’.
- Border Force National Detection Dog Team for protecting UK borders at a time of unprecedented threats.
- 101 Military Working Dogs H/Q for innovative and universally applicable advances in kennel care and environmental enrichment for dogs convalescing or between deployments.
- Aaron Page-Baldwin and General-Purpose dog ‘Baby’ and search dog ‘Jess’ of Ward Security for outstanding and prolonged achievements in crime detection and arrests of offenders.
The application year is from September-to-September and the Company is open to nominations throughout that period. The deadline for submissions is 30. September each year to allow the Award Judging Committee to select and notify the winners before the award presentation ceremony each November.
Working dog units in the military, police and law enforcement agencies are invited to submit nominations by requests sent in June. The National Association of Security Dog Users publishes details of the Award in its newsletter but there is no need to wait for an invitation if you wish to nominate a candidate(s) for an Award in any of the three divisions.
During September, the members of the Award Judging Committee (drawn from experienced members of the Company) individually consider every application in all three of the award divisions and award marks based on:
- bravery displayed;
- deployment in demanding circumstances;
- achievements beyond normal expectations;
- sustained contribution to working dogs;
- innovation and contributions of general benefit to the training, breeding, welfare and/or
- deployment of working dogs.
A meeting of the Committee agrees the winners in each division. At the discretion of the Committee, a Certificate of Distinction can be awarded to any nominee who just falls short of winning an Award. The decision of the Committee is final and cannot be appealed. All persons nominated for an Award will be informed of the Committee’s decision by e-mail from the Secretary by October 31 each year.
Nominations must be submitted by e-mail to the Secretary, Dog Awards Committee at [email protected]. Any nomination sent to the Company via the Clerk from our website will be forwarded by the Clerk to the Secretary. All nominations will normally be acknowledged within 24 hours.
There is no set template for the nomination, but details should include:
- Name of the dog(s) and handler(s) being nominated;
- Their Unit or employer;
- A full account of what they have achieved to deserve being considered as ‘outstanding’ (as outlined ‘Application Process’) and any relevant biographical details of the handler(s);
- Details of any other award for the same achievement or court case or media publicity or independent referee;
- Full contact details of the person(s) nominating.
On reading the nomination, the Secretary may ask for further details before the nomination is considered by the Awards Committee. In any case of doubt or difficulty, please contact the Secretary for guidance.
The Awards are presented personally at the annual Common Hall meeting held every November at a livery hall in the City of London by the two Sheriffs of the City of London.
The winners, their close family and their nominator are all invited to attend.
If a winner is unable to attend in person, their nominee can collect their Award on their behalf.
The Award consists of a framed certificate and citation. An additional certificate is provided for the winners’ Unit or employer.
Full details of the venue and timing of the presentation will be sent to the winners by the Secretary.