The National Police Dog K9 Memorial has been unveiled in Oaklands Park, outside Chelmsford Museum, in honour of police dogs across the country.
The statue was unveiled by representatives of the Metropolitan Police, at an official ceremony on 12 April 2019.
The memorial is the first of its kind to remember the sacrifice made by the nation’s police dogs to keep us safe. The K9 fund was launched by retired police dog handler Paul Nicholls and other members and retirees of the police force.
Chelmsford City Council is proud to provide space in one of the city’s most popular parks for the memorial. Oaklands Park was chosen as the permanent location, after the K9 memorial project approached Chelmsford Museum about an exhibition which would explore the history of police dogs in the UK.
Assistant Museums Manager, Mark Curteis explains how this relationship developed: “We have been involved with this project from the outset. The founder of the K9 memorial, Paul Nicholls, approached us regarding an exhibition and we thought this was ideal for the Museum, so we progressed the idea. As part of this, he talked about establishing a national memorial with possible locations being the National Arboretum or Kensington Gardens. I suggested Oaklands Park and the rest, as they say, is history!”
Paul Nicholls and sculptor John Doubleday both hail from Essex and are delighted that the National K9 Memorial has found its home here. Paul said: “It was a childhood dream to become a Police Dog Handler. As a boy I remember walking along Broomfield Road in Chelmsford and I saw a Police Van roar past with a Police Dog in the back. I knew then that’s what I wanted to do. I grew up in Chelmsford and I am a proud ‘Essex boy’; I’m absolutely thrilled that a tribute to Police Dogs has found its place in a city that I am incredibly fond of."
The memorial statue displays a police officer with a German Shepherd and a Spaniel and was modelled on Paul’s police dogs Ludo, and Karly, a German Shepherd, who worked in the Metropolitan Police area.
Oaklands Park is a ‘dog friendly’ space where the city’s dog walkers and Police Dog Handlers alike can come into the park and pay their respects to fallen Police Dogs in the UK. Visitors to the park can also visit the special exhibition ‘It’s Not All About the Teeth’ accompanying the memorial in Chelmsford Museum. For more information visit www.chelmsford.gov.uk/museums/.
Tuesday 16 April 2019