A police force has paid a touching tribute to one of its finest – a dog who racked up more than 200 arrests in one year.
Police dog Roo received a commendation for his outstanding arrest rate after detaining 202 suspects at the age of five.
He retired four years ago after a six-year career with Avon and Somerset Police, where he was responsible for more than 70% of canine catches.
The force has now paid tribute to Roo, after he died in the arms of his owner on Wednesday.
Roo’s handler, Pc Jim Hampson, said: “Roo was an absolutely brilliant police dog – the perfect partner. He was totally driven and exceptionally brave - saving my life on more than one occasion. He became a bit of a legend in the force.”
Roo completed his training in April 2004 and served with Pc Hampson in the dog unit for two years, during which they won the Paul Cannon Memorial Trophy, awarded to the dog team that has advanced the most in training and handling over the year.
They also achieved the highest arrest rate for a dog team in the force, won commendations for bravery and Roo was known by name by all at the force, from new recruits to the Chief Constable.
In 2006, Pc Hampson and Roo were selected to work on the Tactical Crime Unit, where they received numerous good work reports and letters of commendation.
Roo also became responsible for more than 70% of the force’s overall canine “bites”, or catches.
Inspector Andy Roebuck, who is in charge of the force’s dog unit, said: “Police dogs are vital to operational policing and are extremely effective in a wide range of situations from searching, detecting people, drugs or explosives to crowd control and detaining criminals.
“Not every dog we start training makes it through to become an operational dog, it takes a lot and Roo was one of the best.”
Roo retired in December 2009 and went to live with a friend of Pc Hampson, who visited him regularly.