Police Dogs to be honoured for London terror attack heroics

26 March 2019

PDSA honours Met and British Transport Police Dogs with 'animals' OBE'

Police Dogs who supported emergency services during the London terror attacks at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Borough Market are being honored for their heroic actions by leading vet charity PDSA.

Seven Police Dogs from the Metropolitan Police (Met) and British Transport Police (BTP) will be awarded the PDSA Order of Merit – the animal equivalent of the OBE – at a ceremony later this year. The dogs have been chosen to represent the 19* Police Dogs who served during the 2017 attacks.

Met Police Dogs Kai (Explosive Detection Dog), Delta (Firearms Support Dog) and Dave (Explosive Detection Dog) will receive PDSA Medals, alongside BTP Dogs Bruno (Explosive Search Dog) Marci (Firearms Support Dog), Jax (General Purpose Dog) and Bobby (Explosive Search Dog)**.

Today, the dogs and their handlers were joined by PDSA vet, Rosamund Ford, at the site of one attack, to announce the forthcoming award. 

Ms Ford said: “The actions of these incredible dogs – and their handlers – was vital in keeping the public safe and allowing the emergency services to carry out their work.  They performed their duties in a highly-charged and unfamiliar environment that no amount of training can fully prepare them for. PDSA is honoured to recognise their devotion to duty and service to society.”


Westminster Bridge - Wednesday 22 March 2017

In March 2017, Central London was hit by a terrorist attack that, in just 82 seconds, left five people dead, including a police officer, and 29 injured.

In the moments following the attack, the BTP Explosive Search Dog Section and the Met Police Explosive Detection Dog Team were rushed to the scene to assess the situation and ensure public safety.

BTP Dogs Ollie, Oscar, Bruno and Scooby searched through the chaos for potential devices that could cause further harm on the bridge itself and around Parliament Square.

They were joined at the scene by Met Police Dogs Kai and Bruce and their handlers.  They searched the car that had crashed into the wall of the Palace of Westminster, as a precautionary measure in case it contained a bomb.  Once safe, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services landed in Parliament Square to help injured victims.

Police protocol states that if an object or area has been declared suspicious, all emergency services must withdraw until the scene is confirmed safe. The dogs and handlers put themselves directly in harm’s way to secure the scene, ensure safety for the public and allow life-saving treatment of casualties.


London Bridge/ Borough Market - Saturday 3 June 2017

In June 2017, a white van containing three attackers drove into 10 pedestrians on London Bridge, seriously injuring eight and killing two. The van collided with the railing 

Barrow Boy and Banker Public House. The attackers alighted from the van armed with knives and appeared to be wearing suicide vests. They ran through Borough Market, continuing their assaults on innocent members of public. Eight people were killed and 48 people were injured during the attack.

BTP General Purpose Dog Teams were called to the scene to clear the streets, buildings and public areas alongside firearms officers. Police Dogs Jax, Marci, Johnny, Rocy, Tara and Bobby searched amid a volatile situation for over 13 hours, virtually non-stop. 

Police Dogs Tara, Rocy and Bobby arrived on scene and they worked tirelessly, never faltering in their duty.

Met Police Dogs Alfie, Dave, Poppy and Robson were also deployed to undertake a systematic search of the area.  Together with Police Dog Kai (who qualified November 2016 and was relatively inexperienced) they searched a dozen buildings. 

Police Dog Delta worked with her handler and a team of Firearms Officers to search over 30 buildings. her skills, calibre and professionalism saved vital time.

At Borough Market, the Met Dog Teams joined Armed Officers to search for a suspect who was still unaccounted for, despite the unknown risk level to themselves and their dogs. 

Meanwhile, Police Dogs Casper and Romeo were tasked with searching the suspects’ suicide vests for explosives.

Police Dog Casper and his handler were later dispatched to clear a suspect vehicle under a nearby railway bridge that, it was believed, could be harbouring an explosive device.  Despite the horrendous surrounding conditions, Casper was able to indicate the vehicle was safe, allowing visual check inside the vehicle to take place. 

Throughout the incident the teams worked with the knowledge that potential further danger remained all around them, but put the safety of the public ahead of their own as they tirelessly continued their work.


Award reaction

Commenting on the awards, PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said: "During both attacks in 2017, the role played by all of the Police Dogs was crucial. They are trained to search transport, buildings and events, usually in a non-hostile environment. Yet on these occasions they worked in unimaginable conditions, remaining calm and responsive.

“Their devotion and service to society was incredible, especially under such distressing circumstances, and we will never forget those who lost their lives in these appalling attacks.  Recognising the actions of these devoted dogs with our prestigious PDSA Order of Merit will be an honour.”

British Transport Police Inspector Paul Miles said: “I am immensely proud of our dogs and their handlers, and absolutely thrilled to see their bravery and resilience recognised through this very special award. They worked through physically and emotionally challenging conditions without second thought, courageously walking into danger and putting the public’s safety before their own.

“While today is a day of celebration, the horror of 2017 will never leave us, and our thoughts will always remain with those who lost their lives and were injured in these terrible incidents.”

Chief Inspector Graham Horwood from the Met’s Taskforce said: “In 2017 we were sadly met with some unimaginable events and our thoughts and condolences remain with those affected.

“Our Police Dogs and their handlers were required to work in the most challenging environments and we are delighted to hear that their extraordinary work has been recognised.

“It is an honour for them to receive such a prestigious award and they will continue to work day and night to keep London safe.”

The Met and BTP Dogs will take the total number of PDSA Order of Merit recipients to 27, including 17 dogs and 10 horses. The PDSA Medal, which was instituted in 2014, recognises animals who display outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society, above and beyond normal companionship – and represents an exceptional example of the special relationship between animals and humans. Find out more about the previous recipients.

PDSA’s Animal Awards Programme was instituted in 1943 by the charity’s founder, Maria Dickin. She believed that, if animals were recognised for their heroic actions, it would help to raise their status in society, ensuring they are better treated. The charity continues this legacy today with the world’s leading Animal Awards Programme.

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity providing free and reduced cost veterinary care to the pets of people in financial need. The charity strives to improve the wellbeing of all pets’ lives through providing preventive care, educating pet owners and treating pets when they become sick or injured. Today, PDSA treats around 470,000 of the UK’s most vulnerable pets a year through our nationwide network of 48 Pet Hospitals.

PDSA Order of Merit

The PDSA Order of Merit recognises animals that display outstanding devotion to their owner or wider society, above and beyond normal companionship – and represents an exceptional example of the special relationship between animals and humans.

Find out more