A NEW litter of puppies have joined the Essex Police family.

Seven-week-old Tia, Tyson, Tex and Turbo have been paired with volunteers who will look after them until they are ready to begin training.

Essex Police dog Xena was bred with a male dog from a private breeder for her second litter.

All were given names beginning with T after PC Terry Collinson, one of the instructors.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “Each of the puppies has been paired with a volunteer known as a puppy walker.

“They are members of the public who give up their time to help prepare the dogs for training by getting them used to as many environments as possible.

“They don’t train the pups but introduce them to as many different people and places as possible from noisy train stations to crowded shopping centres so they become familiar with everything they might encounter in their working career.”

When the puppies are 14-months-old they will team up with a police dog handler and could be walking the beat by 2016.