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Commissioner welcomes 'Ratana' puppy litter to the Met

The Commissioner Cressida Dick has welcomed seven new-born puppies, named the ‘Ratana Litter’ in memory of Sergeant Matt Ratana who was killed on duty last year.

The Commissioner paid a visit to the Met's Dog Training Establishment at Keston on Thursday 6 May to meet the litter alongside Matt's partner Su, who chose their names in tribute.

The German Shepherd litter consisted of four bitches and three dogs, which were born at Keston on Wednesday, 24 March.

The seven names chosen by Su were Matiu (after Matt), Carter and Jonah for the males and Kora, Blu, Valentine and Whanau for the females.

The puppies have now been allocated to handlers in order to start a 12 month training course to become fully licensed police dogs.

The Ratana litter will first hit the streets in around three months time as general purpose police dogs - and Su will be invited back to witness the special passing out parade when they 'graduate' in May 2022. They’ll spend most of their days tracking human scent, helping to find suspects and locating weapons such as guns and knives.

Like all German Shepherds, they’re expected to retire at about eight years old.

Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “I was delighted that we asked Su to name the puppies and that we were able to welcome them together to the Met in readiness for their puppy training and eventual police training.

"Matt was much loved and respected and this is just one of the ways for the Met to acknowledge and remember his service and courage.

“These puppies will one day be fully trained police dogs, out at all hours of the day and night, looking for missing people and criminals and searching for weapons."

They join about 210 operational police dogs already attached to the Met Operations Task Force. About half are German Shepherds or Belgium Malinios working as general purpose police dogs, with others specially trained to support armed operations and public order policing.

The Met also has around 100 English Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels and Sprockers that are search dogs specialising in finding drugs, money and explosives.

"These police dogs and their handlers are invaluable,” the Commissioner went on to say. “Many criminals would escape justice and crucial evidence remain undetected, if not for their assistance. Because of their work, the streets of London are kept much safer.”

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