A remarkable Police Dog, responsible for sniffing out more than £5 million in cash, firearms and drugs, has been posthumously presented with the PDSA Order of Merit – the animal equivalent of the OBE.
Jake, a Springer Spaniel, was due to receive the award alongside his handler, PC Andy Crouch, but sadly passed away suddenly, aged 13, just weeks before the presentation.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley led the celebrations to honour Jake, who was recognised for his outstanding service to Warwickshire Police over a ten year career.
During his career, Jake worked at some high-profile events, including royal visits, the Olympic Games, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival and major music events, such as Glastonbury.
At one music festival Jake found over £2,000 worth of well-concealed cannabis on a tour bus, resulting in the delay of the headline act. On another occasion he intercepted a car heading into a festival, leaping through an open window to uncover £1,000 worth of cocaine, hidden underneath the centre console.
Throughout his decade of service, he made over 500 operational finds including assault rifles, shotguns, hand guns, over £650,000 worth of banknotes and over £4.5 million in illegal drugs.
Speaking about his canine crime solving partner, PC Crouch said: “Jake worked tirelessly and performed thousands of searches. Even after his retirement, he loved playing and we would often set up ‘finds’ for him to seek out, to keep him stimulated. Jake would have carried on working, given half the chance, but it was important for him to take some time out. He was a joy to work with and I doubt that many handlers will find a dog so willing to work and to please.”
He continued, “My family and I are devastated to lose Jake, especially so close to this award being presented. But I am very proud to be here with Gwen, to accept the award on his behalf. Jake’s award will take pride of place in our home, along with his Police Commendation and his Force tag, which he wore every day for ten years.”
This is only the second ever presentation of the award: the first being for the Metropolitan Police dogs and horses that served during the London riots of 2011.