UK’s first Special Dog Handler in the running for volunteer officer award

Special Police Dog Handler John Power and Charlie PNL-150825-124039001
Special Police Dog Handler John Power and Charlie PNL-150825-124039001

A Bedfordshire Special Constable has been shortlisted for an award which recognises the vital role played by volunteer officers.

Special Constable John Power, 30, is the UK’s first Special dog handler and comes after a lifetime of living with Cystic Fybrosis, which left him needing a double lung transplant.

John was diagnosed with CF when he was only a year old, and his health had been deteriorating gradually.

At the of 2011 his specialist recommended he should join the transplant waiting list before he became too ill to survive a potential transplant operation.

As a result, John took on a non-operational role with Bedfordshire’s Special Constabulary, working with two explosive-detection search handlers and their dogs at Luton Airport. It was this experience which led him to explore the possibility of whether, as a Special Constable, he could specialise in this area.

In 2012, John received a life-changing double lung transplant. Once back to full health and with the support of senior staff at Bedfordshire Police, John was accepted on to a training course in Surrey with Charlie, the three year old black Labrador.

John and Police Dog Charlie successfully completed their training earlier this year, and the duo will work at Luton Airport searching for explosives, and carrying out checks prior to VIP visits. He is up for the Individual Award, at the Lord Ferrers Awards 2015.

SC Power said: “I had heard of the award but my nomination came completely out of the blue. I did not think I would ever be nominated, so this is an honour.

“Since I had my transplant I have been making the most of every opportunity, and it’s fantastic to be recognised for my work as a Special but I think every volunteer across the country deserves recognition for their time and commitment.”

Specials Chief Officer for Bedfordshire Special Constabulary Wayne Humberstone said: “John fully deserves to be shortlisted. He is an extremely dedicated individual and his contribution to the Specials is invaluable.

“Although all the nominees do incredible work around the UK, we will be keeping our fingers crossed that John comes out on top.”

The awards ceremony will be held on September 9, at the Houses of Parliament.

To find out about becoming a Special with Bedfordshire Police, visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk