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Review published following the death of Police Dog (PD) Ivy

Following the tragic death of PD Ivy at a training exercise in Worcester in July 2018, Staffordshire Police has made recommendations into the handling and welfare of West Mercia Police dogs.

Following the tragic death of PD Ivy at a training exercise in Worcester in July 2018, Staffordshire Police has made recommendations into the handling and welfare of West Mercia Police dogs.

These recommendations have been accepted by the force and changes are being implemented as a result.

Despite every effort to save PD Ivy's life, including officers delivering chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the difficult decision was made to have her put to sleep.

To establish the cause of her death, a post-mortem was conducted and West Mercia Police appointed an independent police force to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding and leading up to her death.

The results have now been received and they confirm that PD Ivy died as a result of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, brought on by heatstroke.

While her handler was attending the training session, PD Ivy remained within the climate controlled pod in the back of the police vehicle. As it was a hot day, the vehicle's engine was left running to allow the air-conditioning to work.

When her handler returned to the vehicle to check on her, PD Ivy was found to be unwell and unresponsive.

Efforts were made to quickly deliver cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and PD Ivy was rushed to the nearest vets, with the police car using its emergency blue lights.

Unfortunately PD Ivy's condition did not improve, and the vet determined that sadly she would not recover.

Assistant Chief Constable Geoff Wessell from West Mercia Police said: "PD Ivy's death was a shock to us all, in particular for those who were with her that day, all of whom remain deeply affected by it.

"While our police dogs are working dogs and not pets, our handlers have a deep, trusting and loving bond with their dogs and I know how upset they would all have been as a result finding Ivy in this state. I know they acted swiftly to try and save her life.

"We accept that PD Ivy should not have died as a result of heatstroke and we have learned this very harsh lesson in the worst possible way.

"We have therefore taken on board everything that the review has identified."

While the review recognised that the care of West Mercia Police dogs is exceptionally good and that our handlers and trainers care passionately about them, the report did identify 17 recommendations.

These recommendations will all be acted upon to ensure an incident of this nature never happens again. Many changes are already in the process of being implemented.

The fan was identified as one of the contributing factors in PD Ivy's death so within 48 hours of the incident, the fan on every dog section vehicle in the fleet was inspected and found to be functioning correctly.

In response to the recommendations, West Mercia Police has now committed to providing dog handlers with formal training and a qualification in canine first aid. The force will also be investing in new technology that can accurately monitor temperature and humidity within vehicles.

A designated dog welfare officer has now been appointed to conduct regular checks on police dogs at all training events

This report will also be shared nationally with all forces in England and Wales.

ACC Wessell continued: "As a result of PD Ivy's tragic death which has highlighted the dangers that hot weather poses on dogs, we recognise that some of our policies and procedures require amending to prevent these circumstances from reoccurring. This is being done as a priority and resulting changes will be communicated to all of our dog handlers.

"I would like to personally thank Staffordshire Police for their balanced and thorough investigation and for recognising how much we do value and care for our police dogs."

To view the full report and the measures we are taking to address the recommendations please click on the above links.

Posted at: 10am, Thursday 25 October by LK, Corporate Communications

Note to media:

ACC Wessell will be conducting pre-recorded media interviews between 2pm and 3pm today at West Mercia Police headquarters at Hindlip Hall, Worcester, WR3 8SP.

The interviews will take place outside the lodge which is located half way up the left-hand side of the main drive into the site.

If you would like to book an interview slot, please call the Corporate Communications team on 01789 444 737.

Published 25/10/18