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Officer fulfils 20-year-old policing dream after joining dog section

November 21, 2020
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A response cop has fulfilled her original policing dream by joining Nottinghamshire Police’s Dog Section and training as a dog handler.

PC Nicola Crabtree has spent nearly 20 years on response in Bestwood and Arnold, and during this time has responded to various incidents, from road traffic accidents to house burglaries, as well as domestic incidents and public disorder issues. Nicola also was able to pass on her knowledge by tutoring some of Nottinghamshire’s newest recruits, something she looks back fondly on.

“I definitely enjoyed response, it’s changed a lot since I first joined but I’m so glad to have had that experience” said the 39-year-old.

“Nottinghamshire’s where I've grown up and where my family is, and I’ve been quite fortunate to have worked on the same rota, so it was definitely the right fit.

“I’ve also done a few stints at tutoring new recruits who were fresh out of training school which was fantastic to be a part of, to pass my knowledge on that I’ve gained over the years and to see the next generation come through.”

Response worked well for Nicola, where she was able to go part-time for a while and manage having young children and her family life with an exciting policing career. But, at the most recent intake of dog handlers she was ready to make her original dream a reality.

As a dog handler, Nicola will be trained alongside her four legged companion to assist with tracking criminals and provide specialist support for football matches, search warrants and a variety of organised operations, to name a few.

Nicola is currently around half way through her training and is hoping to be out with her police dog in early 2021.

“Becoming a dog handler is what I wanted to do when I first joined, and now the kids are a bit older I can come back full time and apply myself, which is a brilliant position to be in and this recruitment just fell at the right time” she added.

“I’m very much looking forward to the new challenges. Again, it’s a frontline policing role, which is what I thrive on, but it’s also something completely different that only a small group of people can do.

“I love the teamwork between dog and handler and the fact that the dogs can provide a service that can’t be replicated by people or technology. It’s always appealed to me as an animal lover too, and the family will love that we bring the dogs home with us.

“So far it’s been really interesting to go on training days with the other handlers. It’s for sure going to be hard work and I’m a mixture between anxious and excited, but altogether very much looking forward to this next chapter.”

Sergeant Gavin Berry of Nottinghamshire Police’s Dog Section said: “It’s fantastic to be growing our team here at the Dog Section and we very much look forward to Nicola’s next chapter with us.

“The dogs do some brilliant work and Nicola’s experience and love for the frontline roles will most certainly stand her in good stead when it comes to our department being called on to support local policing.

“We look forward to seeing the hard work and training pay off, and wish Nicola the best for what I’m sure will be a bright future as a dog handler.”

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