Page last updated at 11:39 GMT, Sunday, 26 April 2009 12:39 UK

Castle hosts UK police dog trials

National Police Dog Trials
The police said dogs were an integral part of every force

Police dogs and their handlers from around the UK have gathered at a Kent castle for an annual competition.

The National Police Dog Trials, which are in their 49th year, are being held at Leeds Castle near Maidstone.

Competitors from forces in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales have been displaying their skills.

Trials include dealing with weapon attacks, police chases and crowd control. There have also been drug dog displays at the four-day event.

Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas, from Kent Police, said the event was a showcase of the "pursuit of excellence" by the dogs and their handlers.

"Police dogs perform a vital role in modern law enforcement and as such, are an integral part of every police force," he added.

Victoria Wallace, Leeds Castle chief executive, said it was expecting about 5,000 spectators each day at the event.

The castle had a "strong canine connection" and a historic dog collar museum, she added.

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