Cumbrian campus welcomes some new four-legged students

Lakes College in West Cumbria has opened its doors to some canine students, though currently closed to most of the human variety.

The college has allowed Cumbria Police dogs Jovi, Dot and Lola to undergo specialist training on their campus after the dogs’ usual training venues became unavailable during lockdown.

College estates manager Andrew Sisson said there was “no hesitation” in their decision to help out.

“The police, and their dogs, play a vital role in keeping us all safe, and it’s great that we’re able to support them, especially through these challenging times,” he said.

Sergeant Aidan Bew of the Cumbria Police dog section said: “We’ve been using this location to perform essential training with our three new dogs, as well as follow-up training with our other specialist roles.

“It has proved to be an ideal setting to put the dogs through their paces, and extremely valuable with the current restrictions.”

He thanked the staff for being “extremely accommodating.

Police dogs have to be trained in a variety of environments to prepare them for the conditions they will be placed in during live jobs.

Lakes College principal Chris Nattress said he was “delighted to help” the police force.

“It was a perfect opportunity for the dogs and trainers to use our estate to sharpen their skills and help keep us all safe. Always happy to help here at Lakes.”

Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie also praised the partnership.

He said: “It’s great to see Lakes College stepping up to offer the site for Cumbria Police to use during the lockdown.

“The college is an important part of the West Cumbrian community, and the willingness of staff to help out in this difficult time is an excellent example of the area’s resilience when faced with challenges.”