Source: BBC (Extract)
Posted: September 4, 2021

An abandoned dog that was taken in by a police force has been recognised as one of the best drug busters in the country.

Bandit and his handler PC Lee Fairman won “outstanding achievement” at the National Service Dog Bravery and Achievement Awards.

He had been rejected by three previous owners due to being hyperactive and anti-social towards other dogs.Bandit is now a key part of the canine unit at Avon and Somerset Police.

PC Fairman trained Bandit in specialist search and rescue skills to find Class A and B drugs, cash and firearms.

The border collie crossed with a Staffordshire bull terrier was two-and-a-half years old when he came into the officer’s care in 2017.

Considering his history and inappropriate name, at first he wasn’t sure if Bandit would be up to the job.

However, Bandit passed all his courses with flying colours and during his first week on duty he found drugs and cash hidden in a bed during a raid.

“He is a fantastic dog with a great temperament and character. He is now constantly happy,” said PC Fairman.

“Before his current life as a police dog it is doubtful if Bandit would ever have had a future.”

The two live together and while they are stationed in Almondsbury in South Gloucestershire they respond to crimes across the force area.

Together they have won three awards since 2019 and they were also involved in a high-profile NATO conference in which they searched Buckingham Palace.

Avon and Somerset Police said Bandit has “consistently shown great success” and become an “invaluable member of our police family”.

Among those who have sent their congratulations were staff from North Somerset RSPCA, that looked after him when he was abandoned.

Naomi Watts, who works at Brent Knoll animal centre, tweeted: “We are all so proud and can’t believe his incredible accomplishments so far!”

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