A police dog and his handler from one of Scotland’s smallest dog sections has won a major national award.
Six-year-old Decco, a black German Shepherd, won the title of Best Search Dog inScotlandat last week’s Scottish Police Dog Trials in Kinross.
His handler is Sergeant Niall MacLean, head of Northern Constabulary’s Dog Section, which scooped two further accolades at the trials.
The trials are split into three phases; tracking, person searching and obedience and man work which involves chasing and detaining criminals.
Decco and Niall came second overall and PC Matty Watson and his dog Yogi came third.
Every force in Scotland can enter the regional finals and this year Decco and Yogi were up against nine other dogs from forces acrossScotland.
Decco and Niall now have the chance to track down another title when they go up against dogs from across the UK at the national trials, due to take place in Surrey at the end of April.
Sergeant MacLean said: “I am delighted that such a small dog section is performing to a very high standard. The nature of the area we police means that person searching is one of the most common types of work we do.
“We are very proud to have won the search trophy as well as doing very well over all in all disciplines at the trial.
“We are looking forward to the national championships in Surrey and we will go down there and do our best. It is a very long way for the dog to travel, but hopefully we will do well.”
Sergeant also praised his colleague, PC Matty Watson, saying: “Matty has done very well with Yogi, who is a relatively young dog (2) and this was his first ever attempt at trials.
“He is certainly a good prospect and we expect him to be a very successful dog in the section.”
The regional finals were held at Kinross last week over three days.
Decco and Sergeant MacLean have been leading the way this year so far.
Their recent successes include finding a 13-year-old missing boy at a railway station in remote woodland near Halkirk last month and at the beginning of the year they found a high risk missing person in Tain, again in woodland.