The north-east’s first ever police dog handler met some of the latest crime-fighting pooches yesterday to mark 60 years of the unit.
PC Sandy Reid and his dog Rennie were the founding members of the police dog unit in Aberdeen, and were first deployed in 1959.
To mark the 60th anniversary, Mr Reid visited the dog unit to meet some of the existing handlers and dogs and hear how it has developed over the years.
And as a touching memento, the 84-year-old gave the unit Rennie’s original collar and tag.
Mr Reid said: “I was in the police force for 30 years and it was always exciting, never boring working with the dogs.
“None of my family were police officers, but it was when I returned from my national service that I decided to join the force.
“The dogs have always been fantastic to work with – that hasn’t changed throughout the years.
“Getting the chance to revisit the police dog unit yesterday was most enjoyable, I never fail to be impressed by the work done here.
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“They are a super bunch , and the drug dogs in particularly fascinating to watch during training.”
Mr Reid said the dogs were “just as invaluable” as ever in catching “crooks that are occasionally getting craftier”.
PC Steve Warden, who has been with dog unit for 13 years, admitted the job was diverse.
He said: “The bond is the biggest part of this job, the animals become your best friend. You take them to work everyday and you take them home every day.
“When working we work with no one else, so the dog is your shift partner.
“It’s a very diverse job, one minute you could be looking for someone on a hillside next you could be part of a full scale riot.
“The dogs have a vast array of skills that can be used in a variety of situations.”
“After 13 years I have seen many tactics used for training, but the main thing to remember is to maintain a good bond, have trust in your dog, and to avoid negativity.”