South Yorkshire Police dog - and his handler - retiring after a decade of 'sniffing out bad guys'
Police dog Khoba is retiring from the South Yorkshire force after a paw-some decade of 'sniffing out bad guys'.
He has spent nine years on the force tracking down wanted criminals, assisting the force helicopter in its operations from the ground and completing a range of other important policing duties.
Khoba was such a good police dog that he was brought back out of retirement in August last year to patrol the region's streets again after his replacement - called Robbie - fell ill.
And he will be joined in his second retirement by his handler, police constable Richard Middleton.
Pc Middleton, who has worked with Khoba since he was about 14-months-old, told how his favourite dog was 'fighting fit' and raring to get back on duty.
He said: "Khoba immediately went back to his old tricks, sniffing out bad guys and helping our officers arrest those committing crime in South Yorkshire.
“From day one of week one of his initial training, I could tell he was going to be a fantastic police dog.
"His strength is his nose – his ability to track a scent and find a person is second to none and he’s by far the best dog I’ve had during my career with the police.”
PD Khoba’s exploits have been featured many times on the police's operational support Facebook page.
So what have been some of Khoba’s best jobs?
PC Middleton said: "In 2015, Khoba needed surgery on his back and actually ended up having a disc removed. One of his first shifts back, he chased down and apprehended a particularly violent offender in Kimberworth, Rotherham.
“When the helicopter can’t find someone, when officers on the ground can’t find someone, Khoba can. As soon as he gets a whiff of who he needs to trace, that’s it – he’s got them.”
Pc Middleton joined the force in 1991 after six years in the naval police.
He told how he is now looking forward to his own retirement after a long and distinguished career.
He said: “I've been lucky enough to go to the Olympics and provide police support to the NATO and G8 summits as well.
“I’ve really loved my time at SYP and it doesn’t particularly feel like it’s my time to go, which is probably a great way to leave.”
PC Middleton and Khoba will officially retire tomorrow, Friday, and earlier this week the pair were invited to meet chief constable Stephen Watson to talk about their work for the force.
Pc Middleton said: “Khoba is getting on a bit now, he’s nine and has worked unbelievably hard for South Yorkshire Police his whole life, so I think he’ll enjoy the downtime in front of the fire - and spending quality time with me as I also think about what to do next.”