The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has welcomed seven new-born puppies, named the Ratana Litter in memory of PS Matt Ratana who was killed on duty last year.
The Commissioner at Keston.
Courtesy Metropolitan Police
Matt was fatally shot at Croydon Custody Centre in September 2020. The Commissioner made a special visit to the Met's Dog Training Establishment at Keston to meet the litter alongside Matt's partner Su, who chose their names in tribute to him.
Following the litter's encounter with their VIP visitors on Thursday 6 May, the puppies have now been allocated to handlers in order to start a 12 month training course to become fully licensed police dogs.
The German Shepherd litter consisted of four bitches and three dogs, which were born at Keston on Wednesday, 24 March.
Their parents are Police Dog Prada Van Der Daeienberghuhe “Storm” and Pascalz O.B.A Magnum Nitra “Pax”.
The seven names chosen by Su were Matiu (after Matt), Carter and Jonah for the males and Kora, Blu, Valentine and Whanau for the females.
It is anticipated that the Ratana litter will first hit the streets in around three months time - and Su will be invited back to witness the special passing out parade when they 'graduate' in May 2022.
As general purpose police dogs, the litter will end up spending most of their days tracking human scent, helping to find suspects and locating weapons such as guns and knives.
They join about 210 operational police dogs already attached to the Met Operations Task Force. About half are German Shepherds or Belgium Malinios working as general purpose police dogs, with others specially trained to support armed operations and public order policing.
The Met also has around 100 English Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels and Sprockers that are search dogs specialising in finding drugs, money and explosives.
All Met police dogs live at home with their police officer handlers and their families. This litter, like all German Shepherds, is expected to retire at about eight years old.
Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “I was delighted that we asked Su to name the puppies and that we were able to welcome them together to the Met in readiness for their puppy training and eventual police training.
"Matt was much loved and respected and this is just one of the ways for the Met to acknowledge and remember his service and courage.
“These puppies will one day be fully trained police dogs, out at all hours of the day and night, looking for missing people and criminals and searching for weapons.
"These police dogs and their handlers are invaluable. Many criminals would escape justice and crucial evidence remain undetected, if not for their assistance. Because of their work, the streets of London are kept much safer.”