Bravery of officers recognised at awards

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By Cara Sulieman

A HERO police dog called Zico who helped ‘collar’ four crooks within the space of a fortnight has received a top gong from his Chief Constable.

But the four-year-old German Shepherd wasn’t allowed into the ceremony at police HQ in Edinburgh today to pick up the meritorious award.

Instead his handler PC Christopher Lannin took the lead and collected the Chief Constable’s Commendation on the brave dog’s behalf, admitting: “Even in modern policing, there’s still no substitute for a good nose.”

The pair had tracked down a suspect who had fled after attempting to break into a car with his friends.

Family

A week later they helped track down a man who was suspected of a serious assault.

And just a few days after that, the duo apprehended another two men for a housebreaking in Currie.

Constable Lannin said it was all part of the police training – but admitted Zico was more than just his partner, he was now family.

He added: “I’m not really a reward person; as far as I’m concerned I enjoy my job and do it to the best of my ability.

“But it’s good to know they take notice and appreciate the good work and dedication that we have to the job.

Retirement

“I’ve been working with dogs for 14 years and have had two before Zico.

“I trained him up and he’s been with me since he was six and a half weeks old.

“Once he retires he’ll come and live with me at home – that’s what I’ve done with all my other dogs.

“They become part of the family. You work with them and live with them. They take a lot of looking after and you quickly get used to having them around.

“We’ve taken on my two previous dogs once they’ve retired until the time they pass away. It’s terrible – like a death in the family.

“My wife probably wouldn’t describe herself as a dog lover, but she likes them. She’s not really had any choice in it.”

Left to right P.C. James Welsh, P.C. Pamela Young, CID Douglas Moran,  P.C. Allan Herbert and P.C. Paul Owenson.
Left to right P.C. James Welsh, P.C. Pamela Young, CID Douglas Moran, P.C. Allan Herbert and P.C. Paul Owenson.

Also honoured at the awards were five officers who were involved in the police’s initial response to the brutal murder of Alexander Allen by his own son, Ross.

Constables Pamela Young and Allan Herbert went to the house with Sergeant Douglas Moran, confronting the bloody scene before them.

And just 15 minutes after the incident, Constables James Welsh and Paul Owenson found and arrested Ross Allen, 27 at the time, for the murder.

The story hit headlines in July 2007, as Alexander’s wife Mary watched as her mentally disabled son stabbed her husband 27 times.

“Horrific”

Constable Allan Herbert said: “I was on duty with Constable Pamela Young and Sergeant Douglas Moran when we were called to the house in Dalkeith.

“Whilst the other two carried out CPR I called in the incident to the ambulance and tried to calm the man’s distressed wife.

“It was probably the most horrific thing I have seen in life, not just in the police force. It must have been horrific for the wife. You have to feel for her and the rest of the family.”

“Placid”

Constable Paul Owenson: “My colleague James Welsh and I got the description and name of the suspect over the radio and found him on a street in Dalkeith.

“He told me he still had the knife in his pocket and we took it off of him before arresting him. There was no struggle – he was placid throughout the time we were with him

“The arrest went quite well from our point of view. It was strange that he was so placid just 15 minutes or so after the incident.

“It was a tragic incident for the family. Every death is tragic but this was even worse because it was within the family.”

Active role

The force’s Chief Constable, David Strang was joined by Councillor Iain Whyte and Mike Dunne, the Assistant Chief Officer of Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue in overseeing the ceremony.

Councillor Whyte, who gave out the awards to the recipients, said that it was important that the community play an active role in helping the police do their job.

He said: “We always heard in the media how people no longer have that community spirit.

“People do care about their community and about fellow human beings.

“Today we are celebrating those people who put themselves in great danger to assist others in their community.”

“Congratulations”

CC Strang added: “Today is about recognising the positive and recognising the actions of our award recipients.

“I would like to say a huge congratulations to each of the recipients, who thoroughly deserve their awards.”

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