An extraordinary police dog responsible for sniffing out more than £5 million in cash, firearms and drugs, has been posthumously presented with the PDSA Order of Merit – the animal equivalent of the OBE.
Jake, a Springer Spaniel, was due to receive the PDSA Order of Merit alongside his handler but died, aged 13, just weeks before the presentation which took place last month.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley led the celebrations to honour Jake, who was recognised for his outstanding service to Warwickshire Police over a ten year career.
Jake made over 500 operational finds including assault rifles, shotguns, hand guns, over £650,000 worth of bank notes and over £4.5 million in illegal drugs.
Jake’s career with Warwickshire Police began at 18-months-old, when he underwent a four-week intensive course to train him to search and identify drugs.
Jake went on to complete similar courses to find firearms, ammunition and bank notes.
After graduation, he was partnered with PC Andy Crouch and the pair stayed together throughout Jake’s illustrious career.
Pc Crouch said: “Jake worked tirelessly and performed thousands of searches.
“Even after his retirement, he loved playing and we would often set up ‘finds’ for him to seek out to keep him stimulated.
“Jake would have carried on working, given half the chance, but it was important for him to take some time out.
“He was a joy to work with and I doubt that many handlers will find a dog so willing to work and to please.
“My family and I were devastated to lose Jake, especially so close to this award being presented. “
The PDSA Order of Merit is awarded to any animal which deserves recognition for exceptional acts of devotion and represents outstanding examples of the special relationship that exists between animals and humans.
Jake’s award is only the second ever to be presented - the first being for the Metropolitan Police dogs and horses that served during the London riots of 2011.
Gwen, a currently-serving Police Dog with Warwickshire Police, was presented with the award at Goldsmiths Hall today in London, on Jake’s behalf.
Pc Crouch said: “I was very proud to be with Gwen to accept the award on Jake’s behalf.
“Jake’s award will take pride of place in our home, along with his Police Commendation and his Force tag, which he wore every day for ten years.”
Jake worked at some high-profile events, including royal visits, the Olympic Games, the Cheltenham Gold Cup Festival and major music events, such as Glastonbury.
At one music festival Jake found over £2,000 worth of well-concealed cannabis on a tour bus, resulting in the delay of the headline act.
On another occasion he intercepted a car heading into a festival, leaping through an open window to uncover £1,000 worth of cocaine, hidden underneath the centre console.
Jake was nominated for the award by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball.
He was retired from police service in August 2014.