Brave Staffordshire police dog starts retirement

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Pc with Major (left), Fonz and Seamus
Image caption,
Major will live with his handler's family and two other police dogs

A police dog which has been nominated for a bravery award is marking Christmas with retirement.

German Shepherd Major worked for Staffordshire Police for six years.

Major is among finalists for the National Police Dog of the Year award after tackling a man who was firing an air pistol.

Major, aged eight, has given up his police duties and will live as a family pet with his handler, Pc Lance Stevenson.

Staffordshire Police said Major and his handler were deployed to Hanley in October after reports a man was firing a hand gun while walking towards Sneyd Green.

"Armed officers were on their way to the incident but because of the immediate threat to members of the public, Major was instructed to bring the man down," a police spokeswoman said.

"Without hesitation, police dog Major quickly ran towards the male as he reached for the gun. He took hold of his right upper arm, taking him to the ground."

Pc Stevenson was then able to disarm and arrest the man who later pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded air weapon in a public place, the spokeswoman added.

'Valuable asset'

The force said like other police dogs, Major had undergone "robust training".

However, he will now put his paws up at Pc Stevenson's home, making way for the officer's new sidekick, Fonz, a two-year-old German Shepherd.

The officer also handles Seamus, an English springer spaniel trained in detecting explosives.

Pc Stevenson said: "Major has constantly proved to be a valuable asset to the force in the work that he has undertaken and has played his part in hundreds of arrests."

The winner of the National Police Dog of the Year, which is organised by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), is to be announced on 14 January.

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