Hannah is a police constable and dog handler at HMNB Devonport
“I am a dog handler based at HMNB Devonport. I began my MDP career, as new recruits usually do, with a posting to AWE Aldermaston where I did a variety of station duties and courses. It was at Aldermaston where I applied to be a dog handler. I carried out my initial eight week police dog course at the Defence Animal Centre, Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire. Then, after spending three years at AWE, I transferred to MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire where I worked with the military for the first time. I had to quickly learn the art of air traffic control ‘speak’ to enable me to drive on the active airfield safely.
A year after arriving at Boscombe Down, I was on the move again. I contacted the SPO at Devonport and offered my skills on a detached duty basis. I spent a year working on that basis before being offered a permanent position on the dog section, which I keenly accepted. I took the relocation package offered at the time and moved home to Cornwall. Since then I have not looked back. My career at Devonport has developed quickly. Not only do I have a General Purpose police dog called EVAR, I have also taken on the role of Explosive Search Dog Handler too. I took an eight week course at HQ Wethersfield with my Springer Spaniel Denver, and on completion of this course became not only one of the first female officers in the MDP to be an Explo Dog handler, I also became the first officer in the Force to dual-handle two dogs. This role keeps me busy on a daily basis. I am required to carry out patrols and respond to incidents with the police dog. I then carry out various searches ranging from reassurance searches and unattended packages to pre-planned PolSa searches with the Explo dog. A 12hr shift almost isn’t long enough some days!
I have been actively encouraged to take on different roles throughout my career. Having the two dogs gives me a rewarding and interesting role that I see myself doing for a long time yet. My two dogs are home-kennelled so they live at home with my partner and I. They are definitely part of the family.”