These adorable dogs faithfully served our police force for a number of years.

But the retired pooches were honoured in a special ceremony, organised by Essex Police.

The group of 11 dogs, their owners and previous handlers were invited to the Essex Police headquarters to receive medals for their bravery, dedication and time spent protecting the streets of Essex.

The special ceremony was attended by assistant chief constable Pippa Mills, retired dog handler and ceremony organiser, Paul Nicholls QPM, Dog Section Inspector Brad Dickel, Lord Lieutenant John Petre KCVO, Lady Rosemary Ruggles-Brise DL, a patron of the Essex Retired Police Dogs Fund and family and friends of the Dog Section.

The ceremony, held earlier today is the fifth ceremony held by Essex Police to honour the hardworking police dogs and the only ceremony of its kind in the country.

Among the celebrated dogs was Springer Spaniel Shifty, who served from 2008 to 2018.

Shifty was a drugs, cash and weapon recovery dog and spent nine happy years serving with his former handlers, Sgt Russ Abbott, PC Gary Lambert and PC Andy Kemp.

In one of his most successful operations, Shifty found a clear water bottle that had been adapted to hide Class A drugs, a car door that had £45,000 concealed inside and two handguns hidden in a safe.

Shifty now enjoys his retirement roaming the countryside with new owners Hannah and Lance and scooping up local dog awards including ‘Dog with the best trick’.

Another to be commended was Labrador, Katy who served from 2006 until her retirement in June this year.

She was paired up with her handler, PC Tony Mayo, to become Essex Police’s second passive drugs dog.

Before becoming a police dog, Katy was bred by the Guide Dog Association but left after nearly putting her owner in hospital after running to catch a stray tennis ball.

She enjoyed her work especially at V Festival when she spotted seven suspects for possession of drugs within the first twenty minutes of operational activity.

Assistant Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “I’m delighted to be here supporting this important ceremony for the second year running.

"I’m proud of our Dog Section and everything they do to help protect the county, so it’s only right and proper that we award our retired police dogs for their part in helping to keep our communities safe.”