Brave PD Stark receives national award

On Tuesday (14 September), PD Stark was joined by his handler PC Paul Hopley at the Thin Blue Paw Awards ceremony where he was recognised for his bravery after being attacked in November 2020.

PD Stark
Photo courtesy of Thin Blue Paw Foundation

At around 4am on 14 November 2020, PC Hopley and PD Stark were called out to allotments in Handsworth for a routine check following reports of suspicious activity in the area.

PD Stark, who was searching allotments for thieves following reports of suspicious activity, tracked and detained a suspect as he attacked Stark with what PC Hopley initially thought was a stick. It wasn’t until Paul managed to intervene and arrest the young man that he saw Stark was bleeding.

Watch the bodycam footage here 

PD Hopley said: “Stark was hit over 20 times He didn’t yelp, he didn’t leave him or run back to me for protection He was such a young, inexperienced dog but he stayed on task and, despite being viciously attacked, he never backed down.

“Stark suffered nasty cuts to his face, with one blow narrowly missing an eye, but thankfully he’s made a full recovery and his policing career is flourishing.”

Paul and Stark

On his first night shift back at work, Stark got back into full work mode, locating a wanted person who had tried to hide from officers on a flat roof, but he couldn’t outwit Stark.

The three-year-old German Shepherd / Belgian Malinois cross has now passed his firearms support dog course with flying colours and is enjoying his role supporting the firearms unit.

Superintendent Sarah Burton from West Midlands Police, said: “When our police dogs get injured it is felt by everyone across the whole policing family.

“Thankfully Stark made a full recovery and was back at work within weeks of the attack which is remarkable. Our police dogs are an integral part of our police family and play a huge part in keeping us all safe.

“We are so proud of both PC Hopley and PD Stark for their immense bravery in what was a very scary situation.”

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