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Islington Parkguard dog teams are hailed by Metropolitan Police

A dog handler and his faithful canine colleagues have won a police award recognising the vital role they have played in helping take criminals, weapons and drugs off the streets of Islington.
Parks patrol officer Gavin Judd, who works for Islington Council contractor Parkguard, was presented with a Community Contribution Award at the recent Metropolitan Police Commendation Awards ceremony.
He is in charge of two dogs - English spaniel and drugs sniffer dog Toppa, and German shepherd Axel, who undertakes weapon sweeps with him.
Between them these man-and-dog partnerships have assisted police with more than 25 search warrants in the last year, and completed more than 200 weapon sweeps in which knives, cash and drugs have been recovered.
Mr Judd has developed a close working relationship with police and his excellent local knowledge even sees him suggest search locations. When he finds weapons or drugs he preserves the scene so it can be used as evidence in criminal trials, and he has provided numerous witness statements.
In one case, Mr Judd was called by officers who believed the suspects they were chasing had discarded property during the pursuit. Toppa sniffed out a large quantity of cannabis, and the suspects were later charged.
Witnessing another chase, Mr Judd and his dog recovered a lock knife that had been thrown away by a suspect, who was later charged with possession of the knife.
Another package hidden in undergrowth in Wilmington Square, EC1, was sniffed out and found to contain around 100 wraps of Class A drugs. Mr Judd has also acted as a witness in court to people breaching their ASBOs and bail conditions.
Parkguard works in partnership with the council to provide its anti-social behaviour services, patrolling our estates, parks, open spaces and cemeteries.  The funding provided by the council ensures that we get to the root of crime and anti-social behaviour in the borough utilising the skills of staff like Mr Judd.
Also commended with a partnership award for her work with the police was Alison Blackburn, Islington Council’s anti-social behaviour co-ordinator.
She was praised for her “instrumental” role in setting up and developing several key innovations in the last year, including her frontline work tackling gangs, serious youth violence and long-term anti-social behaviour.
The awards were attended by the Mayor of Islington Cllr Richard Greening, and Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for community safety.
Cllr Convery said: "We're committed to working with police to tackle crime in Islington. Gavin was rightly very proud of his commendation from police, which recognises the frontline contribution he has made to cracking down on crime and disorder.
"People like Gavin and Alison are an inspiration and a credit to the determination we all have in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in our borough."
Detective Chief Superintendent Catherine Roper, Borough Commander of Islington, said: "On behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service, I am delighted to recognise the professionalism and dedication of both Alison and Gavin by awarding them police commendations at the recent ceremony.
"Both of them have supported us in tackling a host of local issues, including youth offending, anti-social behaviour and knife crime - to name but a few. They both represent the best in partnership working, and I am so grateful for their efforts and their achievements."