A police officer has been named top dog among hound handlers after helping sniff out burglars and drug dealers. PC Stuart Woodward was awarded the ‘dog handler of the year’ award at Cumbria Police for his quick-thinking in tracking down crooks alongside his trusted crime-cracking canines.
PC Woodward, 30, is the first person to be awarded the George Bell trophy – named after the policeman who formed the county’s police dog section – after force chiefs decided to honour excellence in the department. “I joined the police wanting to be a dog handler” said PC Woodward. “I’ve always had dogs since I was little and it’s the cut and thrust of policing. You want to be a burglar catcher, you want to drive the drug dealers of the streets. you get to use your initiative and you get to go looking for burglars. From one day to the next you don’t know what you are going to be doing. It could be a drugs warrant, you could be looking for a missing person, its always different.”
PC Woodward was handed the award by Chief inspector Matt Kennerley at the force’s Carleton Hall headquarters, near Penrith. Sergeant mark Yielder, who also works in the dogs unit, added: “Stuart has on countless occasions used his initiative to assist in the catching of criminals, detection of drugs and the search and tracing of valuable people. “We are all very proud of the work Stuart does and his performance is exemplary.”
PC Woodward, who has worked as a dog handler for four years, said: “It’s a team effort rather that just me being recognised as an individual. “But its good to be recognised for your hard work.”