Name a police puppy competition
Meet Boris and Flame – our newly named police puppies.
Photo: Police puppies Boris (left) and Flame
The German Shepherd puppies are now nine-weeks-old
and have met the members of the public they have to thank for their
In April Essex Police launched a competition to give people the
chance to name the new arrivals who were part of a litter of eight
puppies born the previous month.
Competition winners 13-year-old Hayden Smith from King George’s
Avenue in Dovercourt and Sarah Colbert from Gloucester Avenue in
Chelmsford were introduced to the puppies they had named at Essex
Police’s Dog Unit in Sandon on Friday, May 18, 2012.
Photo: Winner Hayden Smith with police puppy Boris
Boris and Flame were part of a litter of five male
and three female puppies born at the unit after German Shepherd
Steffi was bred with a dog belonging to Greater Manchester
Four of the male puppies and two of the female puppies had
already been given Olympic themed names in honour of the fast
approaching London 2012 games (Zara, Jessica, Bolt, Jackson, Daley
and Seb) so members of the public were asked to get their thinking
caps on and put forward their suggestions.
Photo: Winner Sarah Colbert with police puppy
Hayden, a pupil at Harwich and Dovercourt High School, suggested
Boris after London Mayor Boris Johnson while Sarah came up with the
name Flame after the Olympic flame which will pass through Essex in
July on its way to the opening ceremony in London.
Essex Police received more than 500 entries to the competition.
The suggested names were then shortlisted by staff at the Dog Unit.
Visitors to the website or our Facebook page were then
able to vote for their favourite in a public poll. The shortlisted
names were Zola, Flame or Coco for the girls and Boris, Nike or
Ringo for the boys.
A total of 1318 people voted in the poll and Boris and Flame
were both clear winners with Boris receiving 43.8 per cent of the
votes for the male name and Flame receiving 51.8 per cent of the
votes for the female name.
Some of the other names suggested included Champion, Tessa,
Goldie, Archer, Foster, Hammer, Hero, Ollie, Spitz, Stella, Tanni,
Winnie, Mo and Christie.
Pc Dave Frost has been overseeing the care of the puppies. He
said: “All of the puppies are doing well and have passed initial
tests designed to assess their suitability as potential future
“There are plenty of characters in the litter and lots of early
signs that they could be effective police dogs on the streets of
Essex in the future. Steffi is also doing brilliantly and has been
a great mum to her pups.
“Everyone at the unit has been overwhelmed by the number of
names that were suggested for the puppies and the support the
competition has received from the public. Boris and Flame are both
great names for police dogs and really fitting for the 2012
The puppies have now been paired with volunteers known as puppy
walkers who will care for them until they are ready to begin their
training to become general purpose police dogs at about 15 months
The puppy walkers don’t train the puppies but aim to give them
the best start to their careers by introducing them to as many
environments as possible from noisy train stations to crowded
When they are old enough, the dogs will leave their puppy
walkers and be paired with a police officer dog handler to begin a
13-week training course during which they learn to track, search
and detain potential suspects.
The litter is the third from Essex Police’s puppy breeding
programme which launched in 2010.
Pc Frost added: “There are two main benefits to breeding our own
police dogs – stronger dogs on the streets of Essex and cost
“In the past we’ve relied on buying dogs from breeders and other
police forces or donations of gift dogs. Breeding police dogs using
parents with good genes means we can produce stronger, more
effective police dogs that, together with their handlers, bring
quicker results for the people of Essex.”