A crime-fighting police dog who first started to make headlines in the Falkirk Herald almost a decade ago has sadly passed away.
Ralph - who was crowned UK National Champion police dog in 2010 - joined Central Scotland Police (as was) in 2008, and was handled by sergeant Simon Young during his remarkable career.
In 2009 the Falkirk Herald reported: “Police dog Ralph had the opposition licked at the Scottish regional trials for four–legged recruits.
“The three–year–old German Shepherd was ‘top dog’, the second year running that the Central Scotland force has lifted the best overall title.
“Along with handler, dog section sergeant Simon Young, Ralph also won a trophy for general police dog work, including tracking and searching, at the event held on the Balmoral Estate, Speyside.”
Sergeant Young commented at the time: “Sergeant Young said: “These trials are the benchmark of the standards held by dog sections nationally and we are extremely proud.”
That was just the start of Ralph’s competition-winning form, amply reflected in the ability he brought to his duties.
In his seven years’ service he won the regional trials no less than four times, and meantime played a vital role deterring criminals and helping to trace vulnerable missing people.
Ralph was Sergeant Young’s colleague and close companion all of that time, and went to live with him and his family when he retired in 2014.
A Forth Valley police spokesperson said: “It is with a heavy heart that we post the news of retired Police Dog Ralph’s passing.
“Our thoughts are with Simon and his family at this sad time”.