6 police dogs honoured for bravery and dedication at Knebworth ceremony

PC Wardell and RPD Finn - Winners of the Thin Blue Paw Special Recognition Award (2022) at Knebworth House

PC Wardell and RPD Finn - Winners of the Thin Blue Paw Special Recognition Award (2022) at Knebworth House - Credit: Penny Bird/Thin Blue Paw Foundation

On Thursday, September 22, Knebworth House played host to an awards ceremony which celebrates the work of the dogs who help police keep us safe.

The event was organised by the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a charity that supports serving and retired police dogs across the UK - and six police dogs were given awards for their bravery and dedication.

Kieran Stanbridge, Thin Blue Paw trustee, said: "Police dogs are definitely the unsung heroes of our frontline policing teams and commit their lives to using their noses, paws and teeth to fight crime, help people, locate cash, drugs and firearms, and keep their colleagues and communities safe.

"This year’s winners are prime examples of the incredible bravery, strength, specialist skills, and dedication these wonderful dogs show every day when they head out to work; as well as the important role dog handlers play in helping police forces across the UK fight crime.

"This is our way of saying thank you."

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation's mission is to "protect, celebrate and support" police dogs.

Here are this year's winners - one of them will be very familiar to readers from Hertfordshire:

1. Lifetime Achievement Award: RPD Logan and PC Ian Sweeney 

PC Sweeney with RPD Logan

PC Sweeney and RPD Logan - Credit: Penny Bird/Thin Blue Paw Foundation

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Serving in the Humberside police force, these two helped keep people in Lincolnshire safe for more than seven years.

In 2018, RPD Logan was shot three times in the head while helping to detain three armed criminals.

He continued to work after that incident and received numerous awards before his retirement. 

2. Outstanding Bravery Award: PD Astro and PC Grace Feavyour 

PC Feavyour with PD Astro

PC Feavyour and PD Astro - Credit: Penny Bird/Thin Blue Paw Foundation

PD Astro helped defend his PC during an arrest last year in Leicestershire.

A man being arrested turned on PC Feavyour, but an injured PD Astro saved the day by holding the suspect until he was able to restrained.

3. Lifesaver Award: RPD Luna and PC Linda McBride 

PC McBride with RPD Luna

PC McBride and RPD Luna - Credit: Penny Bird/Thin Blue Paw Foundation

These two served together for eight years in Police Scotland and saved 38 lives during that time.

RPD Luna was an expert at tracking, and was able to guide officers and medical responders to vulnerable people, including suicidal people, kidnapping victims, and missing people with dementia. 

4. Crimefighting Duo Award: PD Toro and PC Chris McDonough 

PC McDonough with PD Toro on a lead

PC McDonough and PD Toro - Credit: Penny Bird/Thin Blue Paw Foundation

This duo from Cheshire and North Wales have formed a very successful pair over two-and-a-half-years working together, with successes in tracking and arrests.

PD Toro even made it onto TV after being filmed dragging a suspect out of a hedgerow by his groin! 

5. Rising Star Award: PD Eddie and PC Andrew Kenyon 

PC Kenyon with PD Eddie

PC Kenyon and PD Eddie - Credit: Penny Bird/Thin Blue Paw Foundation

These two have been working together for 18 months and have made more than 60 arrests in that time.

They’re serving in Greater Manchester Police and have shown lots of commitment to go with their natural ability.  

6. Special Recognition Award: RPD Finn and PC Dave Wardell 

PC Wardell with RPD Finn

PC Wardell and RPD Finn - Credit: Thin Blue Paw Foundation

A surprise award on the evening was given to Hertfordshire’s RPD Finn and PC Dave Wardell to recognise their support for police dogs and their work.

Readers may remember RPD Finn from his heroic actions in Stevenage in 2016, when he was stabbed while saving the life of PC Wardell.

RPD Finn received lifesaving surgery and returned to work before retiring in 2017.

In response to Finn’s service, Parliament passed ‘Finn’s Law’ in 2019 to prevent people who attack or injure service animals from claiming that their actions were made in self-defence.