Dorset Police is saying goodbye to one of its most well-known dogs who is retiring following a successful eight-and-a-half year canine career.
The popular German Shepherd pup joined Dorset Police in 2006 at just eight weeks old and became an instant hit with the community.
A competition was launched by the Force inviting residents to choose a suitable name for the dog, who was the youngest of six puppies brought into Dorset Police under a puppy walking scheme.
He was named Echo and made appearances at various events across Dorset.
At the age of 11 months, Echo was teamed up with dog handler Police Constable Steve Budd and successfully underwent his police dog training to become one of the Force’s general purpose dogs. For operational reasons his name was changed to Tango.
Police Constable Steve Budd said: “Tango was a really small cuddly fluffy pup. He was a complete softie and had become a little over-socialised. There were concerns he wasn’t up to being a police dog but he successfully went through his training which was a real achievement.
“He has had a great career and has looked after me for the last eight years in some tricky situations.
“He has tracked offenders across heathland and made street bites looking after me and my colleagues. He’s tracked stolen goods and found a missing person near the cliffs at Portland at night. We also received a Divisional Commander’s Commendation for tackling a drunken violent man on Portland who was armed with a knife.
“The pinnacle of Tango’s career was when he appeared in Hello magazine after being pictured taking part in a dog display with Martin Clunes who was bravely wearing the sleeve!”
“Now Tango is huge – he weights 42kg and is settling into life as a pet and getting to know my new police dog Xena.”
Dorset Police’s general purpose dogs are called to attend a range of incidents around the county, from helping to search for offenders and missing people to dealing with public order incidents.
The Dog Section is based at Ferndown and Weymouth and is covered by one inspector, one sergeant and 13 constables responsible for 22 dogs. The Force currently has 12 German Shepherd dogs mainly trained for general purpose duties, and nine dogs trained in sniffing out drugs, firearms, cash or explosives. In June 2014, 10-week-old German Shepherd puppy Gus joined the team.