Wiltshire dog handler PC Cindy Hargreave and police dog Betty have bought home a trophy from the South West and Wales Regional Police Dog Trials.

The event took place this weekend, hosted by Avon and Somerset Police, and put the dogs through their paces to be judged by experts from across the country.

The trials are set into three phases which include crowd control, tracking and property, searching , obedience & agility, as well as showing bravery and determination in simulated criminal scenarios.

6-year-old German Shepherd Betty is a general purpose police dog whose duties include tracking offenders, attending public order incidents and helping to locate vulnerable missing people. She was born in the UK at Woodborough Kennels by Andy Rowley and is sister to a previous nationals champion Ash.

Betty and PC Hargreave were awarded the winners in the phase 2 search category where they had to search a building for two people, one of those on scent alone as the person was completely hidden from view, and ended with Betty protecting her handler from an attacker in the building.

PC Cindy Hargreave said: "I am so proud of the way Betty performed.  Trials demand a very high standard from both competitors and their dogs, it’s a lot of pressure and you are competing against different Police Forces. I'm so pleased to have been able to represent Wiltshire and return with an award no easy task given the competition.

"Betty is a challenging dog, the best ones are, no dog is perfect and we need to learn how to train that individual dog; what works for one dog doesn’t work for all. She is tenacious and driven and loves to work. We both have very strong characters, its what makes us such a good team.

"Her tracking on day two was amazing given that the scent had been laid an hour and a half before we were allowed to track in torrential rain, and the rain didn’t stop! I was really proud of her performance in this discipline and was in the lead in this area until the following day when one handler from Devon and Cornwall levelled with me and another nudged ahead by a couple of points!!!

"I hope that my attendance and performance at these trials will encourage others in the team to take part."

Sgt Jon Harwood, of the Wiltshire Dog Section said: “We are extremely proud of what PC Hargreave and PD Betty have achieved.  Trials sees the best of the best competing against one another so to have won one of the categories is testament to the hard work this dog team have put in.“