Handler who broke foot and police dog receive Crufts award as team of the year

A police officer who broke her heel bone and ripped ligaments in her foot yet continued searching with her dog for a missing woman has won an award at the dog show Crufts.

Pc Carly Fulton and police dog Ben won the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) dog team of the year award at the show in Birmingham on Sunday.

The honour came following a search for a missing person in Carluke, South Lanarkshire, in August 2022.

Local police were supported by national resources, including a police helicopter, but progress in finding the person was limited due to woodland and undergrowth.

Pc Carly Fulton and Ben receive their award from Chief Constable Pippa Mills at Crufts (Police Scotland/PA)
Pc Carly Fulton and Ben receive their award from Chief Constable Pippa Mills at Crufts (Police Scotland/PA)

Pc Fulton brought Ben into the search and despite losing her footing, breaking her heel bone and ripping ligaments in her ankle and foot, she persevered by getting down on hands and knees to eventually find the woman, who was taken to hospital.

The police officer underwent six months of rehabilitation before returning to full duties.

She said: “I’m grateful to receive this award but after my injury, I’m just glad to be back at work with my dogs.

“Due to the nature of that incident, I knew we had to find the woman quickly and that was the focus for me.

“Ben was my first dog when I joined the national dog unit and I’m always amazed at the power of his nose and what dogs bring to policing to save lives.”

Six-year-old Ben is a cross between a Belgian Malinois and a German Shephard which is trained as a general purpose dog.

He can help find missing people, track suspects and recover evidence.

The award was presented to Pc Fulton and Ben by Chief Constable Pippa Mills, NPCC lead for police dogs, on Sunday.

Chief Superintendent Tracey Robinson, head of specialist services for Police Scotland, said: “I would like to congratulate Carly and Ben for winning this award which recognises their incredible determination and dedication to public service.

“All of our dog handlers work extremely hard developing their skills and provide crucial support as a national resource to local policing and their communities.

“I’m very proud and glad that Carly and Ben have been able to enjoy some time at Crufts to collect their award.”