PC Tim Moss has a very special sidekick – or two – to help him do his job.
Police Dogs Cooper and Henry join Tim on each shift with Staffordshire Police, and we got to hop in the police car to see what they get up to.
PD Cooper has become quite the internet sensation, with almost 12,000 Twitter followers at the time of writing, and a growing Instagram following.
The three-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the force’s first staffie, and searches for drugs, firearms and cash.
He was rescued from the RSPCA in 2018, and underwent an intense training programme before he was taken on into the force.
He’s since uncovered over £350,000 worth of drugs and cash in Staffordshire, to which owner Tim says he’s ‘worth his weight in gold.’
StokeonTrent Live joined Tim, Cooper and Henry for part of one of their noon shifts.
Tim arrived at Longton police station at 12pm – three hours before his 3pm start. The officer works a lot of overtime hours due to how in demand Cooper is.
We hopped into the car (no blues and twos), and headed to Warrington Primary School where Tim held two educational talks about his and Cooper’s roles in the force.
The children were so excited to meet a police officer, and of course, to cuddle Cooper – a local celebrity and huge fuss pot!
Tim said: “Cooper loves the attention. For me, his best day at work is when he makes big finds – like when he discovered £250,000 of drugs and cash in one day. But if you ask Cooper, his favourite part of the job is getting fuss and cuddles.”
Cooper was licensed for another year at work following a day-long test the check his sniffer is up to scratch.
He passed with flying colours – naturally – after finding drugs, cash and firearms in indoor, outdoor and vehicle hides.
Tim added: “It’s a massive thing. If he didn’t pass, then he’d have to go onto an action plan for three months. If they say, after three months, that he’s struggling, then he couldn’t be a police dog anymore. You get nervous about it because you want him to do well, but he has his own mind.”
Cooper is constantly learning new skills, and most recently had to be trained to find the new polymer £20 notes.
The dogs work two days, two noons and two night shifts per week – with four rest days in between.
When working in the north of the county, Tim drives around 100 to 150 miles per day, but in the south of the county, this rises to over 200 miles.
Tim shared Cooper’s usual work day when working a noon shift.
He said: “We start at 3pm and kick the van in. I’ll check my emails and wait for our first job to come in. This could be an incident or a warrant to search a house or area.
“Cooper doesn’t know when to stop, so I have to look out for when he’s getting tired. Scent work is really tiring, so I only let him work a room for 20 minutes before giving him a break.
“To let him know he’s in work mode, I get him to sit, then give him two taps on the chest and tell him to find it.
“When on a search, Cooper will do a ring around the room before breaking it down into sections. He will search typical hide places first – so areas he thinks someone would hide something.
“It’s so clever – he wants his reward as soon as possible, so he will search where he knows he’ll find something.”
To indicate a find, Cooper freezes, and is rewarded with a clicker or his favourite ball – a Goughnut ball.
Cooper and Henry spend their days off relaxing in the garden. The duo got off on the wrong paw at first, but are now best buds and love sharing a bed.
Tim said: “I love nothing more than watching a dog living its best life running around a field, and I couldn’t let Cooper and Henry do that. I had to walk them both separately.
“It took a bit of work, but they’re best mates now and go out for walks on rest days and chill outside.”
Also at home is Tim’s dog Buster, the Boston terrier, and his two children, aged five and three months.
Cooper has lived up to the nanny dog title, with Tim’s five-year-old son thinking he’s Cooper’s handler, teaching him new tricks at home.
The popular staffie was invited to attend Crufts in March, and spent the weekend raising the profile of the breed and the Staffordshire Police force.
Tim said: “So many people told me that they’ve rescued a staffie after seeing Cooper. I didn’t realise the influence that he was having on peoples’ lives.
“People travelled to the Birmingham event just to see him. He’s changed the way that people think about staffies, which is amazing.
“We were getting stopped by so many people, and even when we were leaving I had to pick him up and carry him out as there were swarms of people who loved him wanting to fuss him.”
And Cooper is no stranger to the limelight – the pup has featured on Crimewatch Live doing demonstrations, Crufts Live, and Animal Rescue Live with Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick.
Tim added: “He’s so in demand that I have to work the overtime. I just can’t say no! After four rest days, I’ll come back to work to at least 10 emails of people requesting Cooper to come to their event.
“I’m glad he’s so popular and that he’s changing peoples’ perception of both Staffordshire Bull Terriers and police dogs.”