CROWDS gathered at Tredegar House yesterday as the National Police Dog Trials got underway.

The three-day event, now in its 59th year, sees representatives from police forces all round the country compete to see who will be crowned top dog.

The police dogs are tested in three areas: obedience, agility, and criminal work.

The dogs had 45 minutes to complete a set list of tasks, including walking to heal, jumping over obstacles, and disarming an onrushing target.

South Wales Argus:

(Fozzy in action at the National Police Dog Trials at Tredegar House.

Superintendent Glyn Fernquest led the organisation of the event.

He said: "It is an event for the best of the best working dogs.

"These are not just show dogs. Come Monday, they will be back in the police cars.

"For them to come and do these sort of activities, it is on top of their day job.


"We have dogs here from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

"To get here, you need to win the force trials before winning your regional trials, so it really is the best of the best here now.

"To come top is once in a lifetime opportunity for the dog and the handler."

South Wales Argus:

(Heddlu Bach meet the police horses at the National Police Dog Trials at Tredegar House.

A number of schools and Heddlu Bach groups attended the first day of the trials.

Superintendent Fernquest said: "We wanted to make sure that it was all about public engagement. We have the schools here today,

"We want people to come along and see what these dogs do, and engage with us. That's why we have the Guide Dogs here and the Search and Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA).

"It is about the whole canine family.

South Wales Argus:

Woodlands Community Primary School's Heddlu Bach students.

"For most people, when you see the police, it is either because bad things have happened, like you have been burgled, or you have been involved in a collision.

"This is a different environment to come along an see and chat with us and the dogs in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

"It is great to see the crowds here and everybody getting involved."

Mark Gibbings, training officer for SARDA South Wales, said: "It is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the work of our dogs and volunteers.

South Wales Argus:

Mark Gibbings, training officer for SARDA South Wales, with border collies Cassie and Cizzy.

"To keep a handler and their dog operational for a year costs £5,000.

"The majority of our funding comes from donations, so that's why events like this are so important for us."

Unfortunately for the home crowd, Gwent Police's own PD Bullet picked up an injury before his run, meaning he had to pull out.

The trials continue across the weekend, starting at 9.45am on Saturday and 10am on Sunday.