1st Jul, 2022

'Most bitten' cop demonstrates dogs' police skills at Crufts

John Carlon 10th Mar, 2020

A WEST Midlands policeman, who says he is the nation’s ‘most bitten’ public servant, has demonstrated the skills of police dogs at the NEC.

PC Dave Raymond is the official breed scheme manager for West Midlands Police, and for the last 15 years has been attacked by dogs in front of crowds at Birmingham’s NEC.

The annual West Midlands Police Show plays to Crufts crowds three times daily, and Dave reckons he is bitten at least 60 times day.

Dave, 41, plays the role of Mr Angry – a mock criminal the dogs love to chase – and to date he believes he has been bitten on 3.600 occasions in total.

And although he is protected from head to foot in a specially-padded 40kg suit, the 4-500lb pressure of the dog bites do leave marks and bruising. A Kevlar suit would protect him more, but Dave has ruled that out because it ‘blunts the dog’s teeth’.

“It’s hard to believe, I know, but I do really enjoy acting the part of the decoy criminal. It’s not something I expected ended up doing but it’s all part and parcel of for what is ultimately about protecting the public,’ he said nursing livid scars on his arm, the latest injuries from that day’s demonstration.

PC Dave Raymond. From Flickmedia

Dave said: “After 15 years of playing Mr Angry, I have to admit, it is getting a little bit harder each year.”

Dave, who admits he finds it difficult to pick up his children when he goes home of an evening following a demonstration, was quick to chip in: ‘If a dog bites me, then that’s down to me. It’s my fault, not theirs. They are only doing what they have been trained by me and others to do.’

Dave’s main job is leading the breed scheme for puppies helping the West Midlands force, taking on a puppy a six to eight weeks and developing it into a police dog over the following 12 months. Part of the job involves teaching the foster puppies to bite him through the special clothing or bite sleeves, which Dave estimates weighs about 40kg.

Many times, he’s encountered former foster pups in the ring at Crufts.

‘Training dogs to bite is a vital part of keeping the public and police safe,’ said Dave, ‘Criminals are more wary of dogs than people. A police dog can take the place of 20 police officers chasing down escapees, disarming weapons and keeping public order.’

‘It’s not the only important task they do. The dogs are also taught to find missing people and track down stolen or lost property.’

The force has even trained dogs to sniff out hidden sim cards used by drug dealers and terrorists, and also blood traces which might have been hidden from the human eye in a clean-up.

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