The evening I had to bark like a police dog

A real police dog!
A real police dog!
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On The Beat with Inspector Jim Tyner

I was a relatively new officer, on mobile patrol with Des. Des was the senior constable on the shift and I always looked up to him. He had 26 years’ service but he still had endless enthusiasm and energy.

It was a wet Wednesday evening in October, just around dusk when we got a report of a burglary in progress in Clay Lake.

Now when you’re a cop, this is the sort of call you long for. As Des accelerated away and activated the blue lights, my stomach knotted with excitement and anticipation.

We didn’t use the police siren, as we didn’t want to alert any suspects. As Des concentrated on weaving in and out of traffic, I wondered how I would perform.

This was my first ‘burglary in progress’ call. Would we get there in time? How many burglars would there be? Would they run off? Would they fight? How would I react? I didn’t want to let Des down.

As we made our way I had the prescience to check with the control room for the location of the nearest police dog. There was a dog handler on duty at Sleaford and they were going to start making their way towards us.

As we turned into Clay Lake, Des switched off the blue lights and we made a silent approach. As we arrived, Des parked out of view of the property. I ran to the front door and Des ran round the back.

This was a left hand semi of a pair of cottages. There was a small front garden with a hedge, but no side gate, so there was easy access to the back. I tried the front door and it was locked, so I went to the front left corner of the property.

From there I could see the front and the side of the property. There was a pedal cycle leaning against the side of the house.

It was now raining quite heavily and getting darker by the minute. I shone my torch down the side of the house. Des was stood at the rear corner of the house, so he had a view of the back door, but was still in my view.

He signalled me to go to him, leaving the front unguarded. When I got to Des, he told me that the kitchen window was broken. He then pointed to the pushbike: “See that bike? It’s Dwayne’s.”

Regular readers may remember I had a run-in with Dwayne when I pretended to be his friend Shaun on the riverbank (Spalding Guardian, July 3) but that was far in the future. This was to be my first run-in with Dwayne.

“The thing with Dwayne,” Des whispered, “is that he hates police dogs.’” The problem was there was no nearby police dog. In hushed tones I reminded Des that the dog unit was on its way from Sleaford.

“That’s no problem. You can be the dog,” he responded. I could be the dog? Nothing in my police training had prepared me for this. Des cut off my embarrassed protest and issued abrupt instructions.

Then Des tip-toed to a broken kitchen window and bellowed: “POLICE OFFICER WITH A DOG. COME OUT NOW.”

At Des’ signal, I took a deep breath and barked. Yes, you read that right: I barked. Reddening with embarrassment, I barked as loud as I could. I hoped that I sounded more like a German Shepard than a Daschund. Still feeling very self-conscious, I barked again.

We then listened, there was a sound from inside of something being dropped. Then came the sound of running footsteps on the stairs. I returned to the front corner to keep an eye, in case of an escape attempt that way. I couldn’t see the back of the house, but could see Des stood at the rear corner.

From where I was stood, I could hear Des’ part of a conversation: “Now then Dwayne, are you coming out the same way you went in?”... sounds of muttering from Dwayne...”No, it’s OK. I’ll make sure the police dog keeps away”..sounds of muttering interspersed with distinctive swear words...”Out you come then.”

This was followed by the sound of Dwayne climbing out the window amid muttered curses

I walked to the back of the property, just as Des was handcuffing a wary-looking Dwayne. It was now dark and we were soaked through from the rain. Des looked at me and winked as he said: “Has the dog gone away, Jim?” “Yes, Des, it has,” I replied. “That dog will never be seen again.”