A POLICE dog and his handler beat 21 forces from across the UK to finish in fifth place at the National Police Dog Trials.

Police Constable Andy Blunt represented Essex Police’s Dog Unit with police dog Bruce at the four day event in Scotland, competing in a series of trials including agility, searching and obedience.

They scored a fantastic 738 points out of an available 1,000 points in the competition - which started on Monday, May 20 - beating their seventh place finish last year. 

It’s believed this may be the highest score for any Essex Police pairing in the 62 years the competition has been running.

Sergeant Paul Screech said: “Trials is an excellent competition that encourages handlers to strive for excellence and allows the sharing of best practise between forces, both regionally and nationally. 

“It enhances contacts throughout the country, allowing us to support each other. 

“PC Blunt and PD Bruce have done so well to not only come fifth in the Nationals, but by qualifying two years in a row. 

“For me personally, it was a huge honour to be asked to assist in the running of the Nationals, performing the role of steward, and gave me great pride watching how well the pair did.”