Force’s new top dogs

(left to right) PC Nick Lynch with Russ, PC Colin Skelton and PC Scott Spitty with Axel.
(left to right) PC Nick Lynch with Russ, PC Colin Skelton and PC Scott Spitty with Axel.

AXEL and Russ may not look like your average officers – but they are the latest recruits in the fight to cut crime.

The two sprightly recruits have joined Cleveland Police’s dog section after completing a 13-week intensive training course with PC Colin Skelton.

Axel, an 18-month-old German shepherd, will now team up with handler PC Scott Spitty, and Russ, a 15-month-old German shepherd and Belgian malinois cross, will work alongside PC Nick Lynch.

Inspector Bev Gill, head of the specialist operations dog section, said: “I am delighted to welcome Axel and Russ to our team.

“I have watched their progress over the last 13 weeks and have been so impressed with the handlers and dogs’ development.

“They will make an excellent addition to the dog section.”

The training course covered a range of areas including obedience, tracking people and discarded objects, “man work”, which involves simulating violent attacks on police, and public order training.

Axel and Russ join another 16 dogs in the unit. There are five specially trained in firearms situations, nine drugs dogs that have the ability to search for cash and weapons and three specially trained explosive dogs.