Officer meets retired PC who set up first ever police dog unit
When PC Alan Friday went to see a man about a dog he ended up learning some new tricks from a retired officer who set up Cheshire’s first ever police dog unit.
Peter Dainty was a young officer on the beat back in 1950 when the Chief Constable approached him directly about setting up the unit.
This marked the start of a paw-fect partnership for Peter, who recruited and trained the dogs before leading on a number of successful operations.
Now aged 92, Peter is a resident at Barony Lodge Residential Care Home in Nantwich.
And he was recently visited by current dog handler PC Friday, who took along his own dog, Kaos, to meet Peter.
Looking back fondly on his time in the police Peter said: “When it was decided that there should be police dogs the Chief Constable, for some reason, got in touch with me.
“At that point I was a police constable in Nantwich and I was flabbergasted he had contacted me.
“He said to me ‘I understand you’re a sheep dog trainer, so could you please help us get some police dogs?’
“It was difficult to find dogs of the right age and with the right skills but we put adverts out and lots of people got in touch.”
Peter, who was later promoted to sergeant, was also put in charge of finding somewhere for the dogs to be housed, and after travelling the length and breadth of Cheshire a spot on Welshmans Lane in Nantwich was picked.
“We lived there with the dogs while we trained them”, he added.
“We had two or three dogs at first, but we built it up until the place was completely full with police dogs and handlers.”
Peter joined the force in 1948 and Cheshire’s first ever police dog, Nora the Alsation, cost £400 and began her service in 1951.
He added: “In those days the dogs were used in missing people cases and for things like IRA bomb scares. We didn’t have sniffer dogs as they weren’t needed.
“They were always fantastic and could find anything in three days if the search area was left alone. They became a huge part of the police force and, of course, still are today.”
After visiting Peter PC Friday said: “He shared with us his scrapbook containing many news clippings about the unit and pictures of times gone by.
“Peter was shocked and overjoyed when I visited at the request of the nursing home and his family, and as an instructor on the unit I was able to inform him of how times have changed both in training and operationally.
“Peter also got to have a picture alongside my current police dog, Kaos, and he was thrilled to have me demonstrate some of the things our dogs are asked to do nowadays.
“I left Peter with more than a tear in his eye and could see that this visit, and being able to share his stories, meant the world to him.”