Nottinghamshire Police sits down with canine crime-fighter and his handler for a chat following International Dog Day
Nottinghamshire Police has met up with one of the force's best-known canine crime-fighters and his handler for a chat, following International Dog Day.
It is a sight no runaway criminal suspect wants to see — police dog Rambo in full flight and his eyes on the prize.
In this instance, that prize was a tennis ball but could equally have been an armed robber or any other offender.
Rambo, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, was brought to the force from Holland in 2018 and has been partnered with his handler Pc James Coupland ever since.
The pair have spent many hundreds of hours together on patrol and have been responsible for the arrests of dozens of criminal suspects — including a violent attacker who came at them with a hammer.
As one of 13 general purpose police dogs, Rambo is used to sniff out and chase down suspects and is also able to track missing people and items.
Pc Coupland said: “A lot of people ask me where he got his name from and the truth is that he came with it.
“I remember thinking at the time that it was a heck of a name to live up to but he has more than that in the time we have been together.
“Like any handler and their dog, the bond between us is incredibly close. The reality is that I actually spend more time with Rambo than I do with my own family. And I really have to trust him to keep me safe when we are out on patrol.
“On one occasion a guy armed with a hammer tried to attack me, Rambo and some other officers. Obviously that’s a scary situation to be in but Rambo soon sorted him out and we were all able to avoid injury. The guy later went to prison for that but he remembered Rambo.
“Some time later Rambo sniffed him out during a job and found him trying to hide on the roof of a supermarket. He remembered the dog and came down quietly once I’d put Rambo back in the car. That’s actually a pretty common resolution as — understandably — once people see the dog they know they have no chance of getting away.”
Like every other police officer in the force, dog handlers have times when they are off duty, but they very rarely get a break from caring for the dogs, which live with them at the their homes addresses and have to be walked and cared for like any other animal.
“Rambo lives in a kennel in the garden next to my other dog Coco, who is a specialist sniffer dog trained to detect drugs, cash and firearms," he said.
"Between them they take a lot of looking after and the only time we’re away from them is when we go on holiday. But being a dog officer really is a way of life. To do this job you absolutely have to love dogs and be as dedicated to them as they are to you.
“I have always wanted to do this job and it really is a special feeling to work every day with an animal you have 100% trust in.”
Nottinghamshire Police has a total of 20 dogs currently on its books — 13 general purpose breeds for tracking and chasing down suspects and seven specialist sniffer dogs.