The founding member of the police dog unit in the north-east has paid a visit to the latest four-legged recruits 60 years on.
It was 1959 when PC Sandy Reid and his loyal dog Rennie became the first-ever recruits.
Now Sandy has returned to the canine section and delivered a special gift for the division – Rennie’s collar in a frame.
Sandy also gave officers press cuttings and various pictures from over the years as part of the history of the unit
The 84-year-old said: “It was great to be back. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
“I came across Rennie’s collar the other day and I wanted to leave a little memento.
“They had it framed which I think it is very nice of them.”
Sandy joined Aberdeen City Police in 1954 when he was 20 years old.
He worked on the beat for a few years and was then asked to set up the first dog unit in the area.
Sandy and Rennie were the sole members of the unit to start with but over the years he gradually built up a team of handlers and dogs.
Although it has been a long time since Sandy was in the dog unit, he doesn’t believe much has changed about how the animals are trained.
In the north-east around 15 dogs are available to assist in a range of incidents, including drug searches and missing person inquiries.
Sandy said: “I used to thoroughly enjoy tracking. It was a specialism that I developed.
“When the dog was able to track something, it was almost like magic to me – they could do it for four or five hours.
“Rennie was completely out of control when I got him.
“The idea for training was you never, ever, hit the dog, you never used any physicality towards it. You never ill-treated them. If you had, you knew that you had failed.”
Of his visit yesterday, Sandy said: “I had the pleasure of seeing the drug dogs, in my day, we didn’t have them. There was no call for it. They were a joy to watch, full of enthusiasm.
“The dog doesn’t actually know right from wrong or that they are going after criminals.
“It just knows that when it finds the item that it gets to play with a tennis ball.
“To see the dogs working was absolutely fascinating.
“I was most impressed by them, they are a super bunch.”
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After setting up the dog unit, Sandy went on to set up the Underwater Diving Unit for the police force and also the specialist policing unit at Aberdeen Airport. He retired as a Sergeant in Bucksburn in 1984.
During Sandy’s visit he was given the chance to meet two of the newest recruits, PC Laura Fairbairn and PD Ava.
The pair have recently finished their three-month training in Glasgow.
PC Fairbairn said: “I’ve always wanted to be a dog handler since I joined the police. I love dogs and I thought it was a challenge that I was ready to meet.
“Ava is a general purpose dog. She is used in tracking and locating missing person or property.
“She is very good at making her presence known and sometimes this is enough to deter people.
“The bond I have with my dog is my favourite part.”
Steve Warden, regional instructor for Police Scotland, said: “We have 60 years of history of the dog unit in the north-east.
“With Sandy visiting it just makes it that much more special.”