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Retired Essex dog handler unveils national police dog memorial

Retired Essex dog handler unveils national police dog memorial
Photo L-R: Paul Nicholls QPM, Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Cressida Dick, The Mayor of Chelmsford, Councillor Yvonne Spence and the Mayor's Consort John Spence.

One of our former officers has unveiled a permanent memorial for our canine colleagues in Chelmsford today during a dedicated event.

Paul Nicholls QPM, a retired dog handler who served in Essex Police for almost 30 years, started the National K9 Memorial campaign upon retirement with a mission to erect a national memorial to honour police dogs who gave their lives and loyal service for our country.

This afternoon, a bronze sculpture of Paul Nicholls and police dogs Ludo and Karly was unveiled by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick CBE QPM in Oaklands Park in Chelmsford.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills closed the ceremony by thanking Paul for his dedication and highlighting the great work from our Dog Section who attended today’s event to showcase the capabilities of our dogs.

Paul Nicholls said: “Today has been one of the best days of my life and the proudest day of my life, that’s for certain. This is the result of a 13 year journey that I’ve been on since I lost my first police dog Sabre in 2006. Today was the culmination of that journey that I was on when I lost him.

“It means everything to me, when you go on such a long journey and it takes so long to do something, you don’t realise that you’ve actually fulfilled your dream to create something that is going to be a long lasting memory for police dogs in the UK.”

The sculpture, sculpted by Essex artist and sculptor John Doubleday, shows Paul kneeling with his police dog Ludo, a Cocker Spaniel who was donated to Essex Police by a family from Frinton-on-Sea who recognised his talents and thought he would make a great police dog. Ludo, along with his canine colleague Millie, became one of the first forensic recovery dogs in our region in 2014. PD Ludo retired with Paul in 2015.

The first job Paul and Ludo were deployed to was a missing person investigation in Grays where Ludo’s nose led to evidence that was pivotal in the investigation. Paul and Ludo were recognised by then Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh for their work on the case and were awarded a Certificate of Merit.

The sculpture also shows Police Dog Karly, a German Shepherd who was a Victim Recovery and Blood Detection dog in the Metropolitan Police Service. She served with her handler PC Mandy Chapman between 2005 and 2013. Karly was injured on duty and retired in 2013, she enjoyed two years of rest and relaxation in her retirement with Mandy and sadly passed away in 2015.

In 2014, Karly was awarded a commendation by Commissioner Cressida Dick for chasing and detaining a man wanted for serious offences. The man attacked Karly and despite her injuries, she held onto him until Mandy arrested him.

In 2017, Paul Nicholls was recognised with a Queen’s Police Medal for his distinguished Services to Policing, particularly, his dedication to our Dog Section and recognising our retired police dogs.

Throughout his career as a Dog Handler, Paul spent his free time travelling to Switzerland, Sweden and the National Police Dog Centre in Finland looking to broaden his skill base as a Dog Handler.

Driven by his passion for recognising the great work of police dogs, Paul introduced medals for Retired Police Dogs in June 2016. At the time, Essex Police was the only police service in the UK to honour its retired dogs in this way and the ceremony – the first of its kind – was held in Chelmsford.

He continues to work with Dog Unit Inspector Brad Dickel, the Essex Police Federation and the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund to continue the ceremonies for our canine colleagues.

If you would like to read more about the National Police Dog Memorial, visit: www.k9memorialuk.co.uk

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