“Me and my police dog do more than protect the public, we protect each other.”

Before joining TeamNP in 2007, PC Lora Smiles was training to become a primary school teacher but traded the classroom for the world of policing. Now, she’s a dog handler for TeamNP.

“I love working in a specialist role as a dog handler. It’s a challenging role where I could be responding to some of the most dangerous jobs, but one which is incredibly exciting and rewarding.”

In her role, Lora and her four-legged partner provide invaluable support to our frontline officers.

At Northumbria Police we have over 70 police dogs, including puppy recruits. From traditional police dogs who track, find and detain people to specialist search dogs who can find drugs, cash and firearms.

Did you know we also have specialist search dogs that can find digital media including sim cards, memory cards and mobile phones? 

PC Smiles recalls one of her greatest achievements in her 17 years of service, an operation which involved an hour long trek through rough terrain, chasing down a suspect wanted for attempted murder. Recalling the operation, PC Smiles says “As a dog team, we never gave up and kept going to successfully locate the suspect.”

All of our dog handlers forge strong bonds with their police dog counterparts. The fantastic work of our dog teams is recognised across the force and by the public, with several of our dogs nominated for our annual Pride in Policing awards, featuring on local news and showcasing on TV shows such as Our Cops in the North.

Working for #teamnp for Lora says is “not just a job, it’s a life choice”. She says: “If you are looking for a long term career with endless opportunities, this is the place for you.

“It’s not your typical Monday to Friday 9-5 and no shift is ever the same. I have a great sense of pride in doing my job, it’s physically and mentally challenging, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Being a dog handler is just one of the many specialist roles you could consider when you’ve passed your probation.

Play to your strengths. Find out more about kickstarting your career as a police constable.