‘Very unpredictable’ is how dog handler Pc Mick Judge from Lincolnshire Police describes working Christmas Day.
Pc Judge will spend Thursday in the company of five-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd Falco and six-year-old Labrador Jazz as one of two dog handlers covering the county for the force.
The shift will run from 7am to 7pm and see him respond to all types of incident, though priority for him will be given to those where the dogs would be an asset.
Falco is used to track down suspects from crime scene, while Jazz is trained to detect and indicate the presence of drugs, firearms, firearm components, and even cash - typically, four-figure sums, though she did once sniff out someone with £60 on them, said Pc Judge.
Of how Christmas Day may unfold, he said: “I’m a police officer with a dog, as opposed to a dog handler. As a police officer, I will deal with anything and everything that comes my way, but there is no point in having me deal with a shop lifter if there is an incident requiring a dog.
“What we will try to do is keep me free for when a dog is needed.”
Pc Judge spoke of a previous Christmas Day’s shift which saw Falco trace a suspected drink driver following a car crash near Boston, finding them hiding in a ditch about a quarter-of-a-mile from the scene.
He said: “Without the use of the dog, it is unlikely we would have got the offender.”
The unpredictability of the day may mean he miss Christmas with loved ones.
He said: “I will at some time during the day try to pop home and join them for Christmas dinner, but they know I will ultimately attempt to come, but it doesn’t always happen.”
Such sacrifices are just ‘part of the job’, he said.
He said: “I would much sooner be at home, but I don’t have any great reservations about going out there.”
“Crime doesn’t stop,” he added.
And for their Christmas Day sacrifices, Falco and Jazz can expect to be rewarded.
“They will have a little Christmas treat once they finish work,” said Pc Judge.
○ Sgt Rachel Wells, of Sleaford’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, will also be working Christmas Day.
She said: “We are fortunate in our country to have a public service and workers we can rely upon. Other countries don’t have what we have, so we are quite fortunate really.”
She wished the community a ‘safe, merry and peaceful Christmas’.