A Devon and Cornwall police dog handler, whose dog left paw prints in cement laid out for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to leave their hand prints in at St Michael's Mount has received a long service and good conduct award.
The Chief Constable Awards Ceremony was held on Friday, March 14, at the China Fleet Country Club, attended by the Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer and the High Sheriff of Cornwall, James Kitson.
During the morning, awards were presented to officers and staff for long service and good conduct
Constable Martin Le Blanc joined Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in August 1993 and after passing out of training school he was stationed at Plymouth covering both Response and Ward Policing until 1997, before joining the burglary squad.
Martin had various attachments during his probation, but it was the dog section that made the biggest impression. On his second application, Martin was successful in becoming a dog handler and he began his initial training in January 1998 with police dog Harvey.
Martin and Harvey were partners until Harvey retired in 2004. Martin’s next dog was Blue, a black German Shepherd. Blue went on to become a firearms support dog. Blue was a natural tracker and often appeared in the local newspaper such was his success at catching "baddies". One particular arrest involved Blue swimming out to sea following a straight chase and caught the offender as they were trying to climb up some rocks – ouch!
Martin has worked two general purpose police dogs, three drug search dogs and an explosive search dog. Currently Martin is one of the forces specialist search handlers. This role has seen him attend the Olympics and provide mutual aid to Dorset for six weeks.
Martin was involved in a search at St. Michaels Mount in Cornwall with his bomb dog Jarvis a couple of years ago.
A force spokesman said: "Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were visiting. The castle and grounds had undergone a thorough search for any explosive devices that may have been planted, to ensure the safety of Charles and Camilla.
"Just as the Royal couple were approaching the area where they were to be greeted by officials Martin was asked to hurriedly bring his Dog in order that it could ‘quickly sniff’ something that was to be presented to the VIP’s, there was no time to explain what it was that needed to be checked so hastily.
"The official making the request practically dragged Martin and his Dog toward a wooden box that was sat on a park bench nearby. As the handler and his dog approached Martin was still trying to enquire exactly what needed searching, however he very quickly realised what it was when Jarvis jumped onto the bench and stood with all four feet in a box containing wet cement which had been intended to have the Royal Visitors handprints left as a permanent reminder of their visit.
"Needless to say there wasn’t an IED within the cement so Martin and Jarvis made a hasty retreat before they were imprisoned in the Tower."