Meet Staffordshire’s newest crimefighting duo: Police Dog Flash & PC Luke Hardern


Staffordshire has a new crimefighting duo after police dog Flash and his handler PC Luke Hardern completed their intense training.

The pair received their official certificates at Staffordshire Police HQ yesterday before embarking on their first shift together.

For PD Flash, the award welcomes him to the force as a Service Animal under the protection of Finns’ Law, while the moment was a long-awaited one for PC Hardern, of Leek.

The 28-year-old had hoped to complete his training – with another dog – a year earlier before a rugby injury curtailed his plans.

But the delay caused by the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury allowed Luke to meet Austrian-born Flash and they have already developed quite a bond.

He said: “It’s been a long time coming. I was originally on the course last September, but then I snapped my ACL playing for a local club.

“I had to have an operation in March and that put me back to this September’s course. We’ve got quite a bond already.

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“The dog lives with you, goes most places with you, and you spend a lot of time with them. It has to bond with the people you live with, and luckily he gets on well with my girlfriend.

“We’ve got a cockapoo called Bertie as well who’s two. He wasn’t so sure at first, but they’re okay now. It’s quite a commitment. He sleeps outside as he would normally, but he has to have a walk every day including your rest days.”

PC Hardern, an experienced second row forward, has represented the police against branches of the Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy and RAF.

PC Luke Hardern and PD Flash

But even he described the intense 13-week training course as ‘tough’.

He added: “It’s tough, training Monday-to-Friday, but it’s what the dogs need. They need the repetition to bring them up to the standard to do their job effectively.

“We’ve been training everywhere from HQ to the Staffordshire Showground and out to Rugeley Power Station.”

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On graduation from the course, Luke has realised a lifelong ambition of being able to work alongside animals.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in dogs and animals in general and I do some work on a farm in my spare time.

PD Flash

“I’ve wanted to do this [a dog handler] for a while but it’s hard to get on the course because you need a certain amount of experience.

“Growing up I always wanted to join the police and I also wanted to work outside and with animals. Now I am joining the new team I am doing just that.”

Chief Superintendent Elliott Sharrard-Williams, who was on hand to present the new team with their awards, was delighted to welcome another dog into the force.

He said “It’s fantastic to have a new member of the team who from tomorrow will be finding the lost, protecting the innocent and confronting the dangerous.

Chief Superintendent Elliott Sharrard-Williams hands PD Flash’s graduation certificate to PC Luke Hardern

“We recognise the start of their service and now we recognise the end of their service too. When they retire they get a certificate of service and this little medal and instead of the Staffordshire knot in the middle there’s a little pawprint.

“It’s a memento for the handler because we go home and we switch off from work but he never does that because the dog is with him 24 hours a day.”





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