The Metropolitan Police have welcomed seven newborn puppies in memory of Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was killed in the line of duty.
The 54-year-old officer was shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in September 2020 as he prepared to search a handcuffed suspect.
Commissioner Cressida Dick has visited the Met’s Dog Training Establishment at Keston to meet the “Ratana litter” alongside the late officer’s partner Su Bushby, who chose their names in tribute to him.
The German Shepherd pups will embark on a 12-month training course to become fully licensed police dogs – and have been allocated to handlers.
The pups’ parents are also police dogs, named Prada Van De Daeienberghuhe “Storm” and Pascalz OBA Magnum Nitra “Pax”.
The seven names chosen for the puppies by Ms Bushby are Matiu, Carter and Jonah for the males, and Kora, Blu, Valentine and Whanau for the females.
The New Zealand-born policeman’s full first name was Matiu – while the other puppy names include Maori words for an unfurling fern frond and family.
The Ratana litter is expected to hit the streets in just three months’ time – and are expected to retire at around eight years old.
Like all Met Police dogs, they will live at home with their officer handlers and their families.
As general purpose police dogs, they will spend their time at work tracking human scent, helping to find suspects, and locating weapons such as guns and knives.
Commissioner 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.
“These police dogs and their handlers are invaluable. 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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