Writing – The Journey (Blog Post No 2) – Mike Layton

I was never a dog handler, having been a career detective for most of my police career. Having co-authored ‘Police Dog Heroes’ with Bill Rogerson I can’t help feeling that somehow I missed out on something unique. I have been involved in co-writing a number of books and they are all slightly different in terms of how the relationship works. It sounds complicated but really its just about having a plan, and trust in your colleague is the main thing. I hadn’t written with Bill before but he is an officer who spent his entire service with the British Transport Police and possesses a huge amount of pride in the Force so I knew that he would do a great job. Also as a key member of the British Transport History Group he has a huge number of contacts. For  my part I started my police career at the age of 16 years as a Cadet with BTP before  moving on to other Forces and returning to them for my last six years. I have great pride in all of my police postings but will always be thankful to the BTP for acting as a ‘gateway’ to the police service after I was rejected by Birmingham City Police as being too thin! That is no longer a problem these days!

‘Police Dog Heroes’ is the history of the British Transport Police Dog Section from its inception in 1908 at Hull Docks to 2015. It is in fact the oldest police dog section in the UK and for more than a century now they have played a key rail in protecting the nations infrastructure and adding a key layer of protection in the field of counter-terrorism. The book contains some forty recollections from retired police dog handlers, two at least who unfortunately now are no longer with us (RIP). There are some huge characters among them and what shines through the book is the absolute bond that existed between handler a dog – a working relationship but without doubt in many ways also a love story between man and dog.

The book contains a number of historical photographs. It would be fair to say that in the course of putting the book together we struggled a bit to get sufficient photos together. Since 2015 retired officers like Mike Joyce have in fact amassed a huge amount of additional photos from other sources and shared them on social media. Some of them are priceless and its a clear example of how we must not lose our collective history. The BTP have also recently set up a charitable Trust to support BTP dogs in their retirement so there has been a lot of focus on their work.

What I think is beyond question is that during those decades there would have been countless occasions during which the mere presence of a police dog prevented injury, or worse,Police Dog Heroes Cover to countless police officers and members of the public. They are simply priceless.

The book is available in bookshops and on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1445655470/ – it currently has 14 reviews and scores 4.2 stars out of 5 on Amazon. #Dogs #BTP #Police #History

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