Day 310 – West Midlands Police – Retiring police dog Janus and new recruit
dog training aid

Image by West Midlands Police
Great photo showing retiring police dog Janus alongside his handler PC Thomas and new recruit Zane.

A West Midlands Police professional hailed "one of the force’s finest" is calling time on a glittering career that"s seen him collar hundreds of criminals.

Tributes to the crime fighter, who’s been involved in almost 450 arrests in the last four years alone, have flooded in from colleagues.

One described him as a "police four-runner", an ex-partner told how he loved "sinking his teeth into criminals", whilst another recalled the moment he cocked a leg on his freshly-valeted patrol car.

That’s right, because Police Dog Janus, one of the first Belgian Malinois breeds introduced by West Midlands Police almost a decade ago, is finally putting his paws up at the grand old age of nine-and-a-half.

Dog handler PC Dan Thomas, who is keeping Janus (pictured right) as a pet, said: "He’s an excellent dog in so many ways: extremely sociable, very playful, agile, fast and highly driven to work. You could tell he really loved the job! A walk with Janus always had to involve some training as he wants to stay active and not just go for a stroll.

"He’s been involved in some fantastic arrests and used his search skills to uncover a huge array of stolen property and evidence that’s led to convictions.

"Janus will live out his days with me and my family. He’ll be given the best care and attention and rightly so!"

Janus’ tracking and searching has led to the arrest of 285 crime suspects since 2008 when PC Thomas was first paired with him whilst he’s also assisted in a further 157 captures.

Around 60 criminals have needed hospital treatment for bite injuries the price to pay for trying to flee or refusing to comply with instructions.

And his recovered property haul includes weapons like knives and screwdrivers, clothing, gloves and balaclavas, lots of stolen items and cash. In one incident he uncovered £5,000 stolen from a security van heist and in another sniffed out more than £10,000 worth of stolen power tools.

PC Thomas said his new four-legged crime fighter, Police Dog Zane (pic left) who graduated from the force’s own breed and training scheme, has a tough act to follow.

He added: "These are results from just the last four years so Janus’ career totals will be even more impressive.

"The bond between any dog and owner is special but the bond between a working dog and handler is amazing…we’ve been through so much together and have spent more time with him over the last few years than my own family!

"He has depended on me and I’ve equally depended on him many times when he’s come to my aid and fended off violent offenders. He’s been a pleasure to train, work and live with and if I could turn the clock back and work him again I would.

"But that said I’m really looking forward to developing a similar understanding and working relationship with Zane. He came through our in-house training scheme with flying colours and I’m sure he’s got a bright future…which is bad news for criminals!"

PC Thomas and Police Dog Janus have been nominated for numerous awards in recent years including two Chief Constables Commendations – the force’s highest accolade – and three local policing commendations.

West Midlands Police Dog Unit manager, Inspector Russ Evans, said: "We began experimenting with Belgian Malinois 10 years ago: they exhibit energy levels that are among the highest of all dog breeds, love new challenges and are relatively easy to obedience train.

"There are no set retirement dates for our dogs it all depends on the individual dog and Janus was still scaling six-foot fences and chasing down suspects in his final few months with the force. At the time of his retirement, Janus was among the oldest operational general purpose dogs we’ve ever had.

"We currently have two ‘Mallys’ in the force though we have another puppy champing at the bit and set to go through our training course in January.

"Janus has been a fantastic police dog and was also trained as an advanced firearms support dog. I hope he goes on to have a relaxing and enjoyable retirement!"

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