Head of police dog training scoops public sector worker of the year award

Harry Morton, South Yorkshire Police’s head of dog training, was presented with the public sector worker of the year award at the Making a Difference in Yorkshire and Humber Awards on Thursday, 6 December, 2012.

Harry has led the Force’s dog training school since October 2007 having previously spent the majority of his 40 years service as a police dog handler with South Yorkshire Police. Harry’s passion is dogs and he has put this energy and enthusiasm into making South Yorkshire Police’s dog training school one of the most respected in the country.

In 2008, Harry introduced the Force’s own puppy breeding scheme, which has seen ten litters born at the centre. During times of reduced budgets, Harry and the team, through the puppy breeding scheme, have been able to reduce the Force’s budget for purchasing dogs by 70 per cent.

On top of this, the centre has raised £178,000 for the Force through the sale of general patrol and specialist search dogs and through the provision of training to organisations such as other police forces, Ministry of Defence, HM Prison Service and private security firms. Harry has overseen the development of a training programme that has seen over 50 handlers from other forces and organisations trained at the centre. This is all managed in addition to the 41 South Yorkshire Police dog handlers who have to be trained each year.

The dog training school, led by Harry Morton, consists of ten staff and a network of volunteers. The team who previously only trained dogs and officers from South Yorkshire Police have now trained officers from North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Northumbria, West Midlands, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Lothian and Borders, Grampian, Cheshire, Leicestershire and Dyfed Powys plus, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, HM Prison Service, and the Ministry of Defence.

Inspector Jim Revitt said: "Harry has invested countless amounts of time and energy in to making South Yorkshire Police’s dog training school the professional enterprise it is today and one of the most respected centres in the country."

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright also extended his congratulations to Harry Morton on a job well done.

A very proud Harry Morton added: "I’m delighted to receive the award on behalf of the team of trainers, staff and volunteers who all make the dog training school what it is. Everybody involved with the centre puts so much energy and enthusiasm into the job. That is what makes the difference and my job so enjoyable.

"The dog training school is always on the lookout for volunteers to join the puppy walking scheme and care for our puppies from being eight weeks old to approximately 18 months old. Without a team of volunteers we would be unable to produce the quality of dogs that help to protect the public of South Yorkshire. If you are interested in volunteering, please call the centre on 0114 2964943."

From left to right: John Lewis, Yorkshire and Humber TUC and Harry Morton, South Yorkshire Police's head of dof training.