After nine years of service for South Yorkshire Police, PD Khoba is retiring (again!) but this time his handler, PC Richard Middleton, will join him.
Khoba first retired from SYP last summer, but was brought out of retirement when PC Middleton’s newest police dog, Robbie, became unwell.
Khoba was straight back to business, tracking down criminals and securing arrests, as PC Middleton explains.
“Khoba initially retired in August last year after a really impressive career, after coming to me at around 14-months old. Unfortunately, my new dog Robbie (a Belgian Malinois) fell ill in November and this left me without a police dog.
“Luckily, Khoba was still fighting fit so we brought him back to work with me. He immediately went back to his old tricks, sniffing out bad guys and helping our officers arrest those committing crime in South Yorkshire.
“From day one of week one of his initial training, I could tell he was going to be a fantastic police dog. His strength is his nose – his ability to track a scent and find a person is second to none and he’s by far the best dog I’ve had during my career with the police.”
PC Middleton joined the force in 1991, after six years in the Royal Navy. While in the Navy, PC Middleton worked for the naval police and this sparked his interest in the career.
“Since joining SYP, I’ve done jobs all over the force – I’ve worked in roads policing, drug units, the Tutor Unit… I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Olympics and provide police support to the NATO and G8 summits as well.
“I’ve really loved my time at SYP and it doesn’t particularly feel like it’s my time to go, which is probably a great way to leave – I really do feel like I’m going out on a high.”
PD Khoba’s exploits and successful tracking of criminals have featured many times on the SYP Operational Support Facebook page.
So what have been some of Khoba’s best jobs?
“It’s impossible to pick just one!” says PC Middleton. “Khoba is responsible for finding so many bad guys (his favourite thing to do!) that I can’t pinpoint one job where he was better than any of the others.
“In 2015, Khoba needed surgery on his back and actually ended up having a disc removed. One of his first shifts back, he chased down and apprehended a particularly violent offender in Kimberworth, Rotherham.
“When the helicopter can’t find someone, when officers on the ground can’t find someone, Khoba can. As soon as he gets a whiff of who he needs to trace, that’s it – he’s got them!”
PC Middleton and Khoba will officially retire tomorrow (Friday 12 January) and earlier this week the pair were invited to meet Chief Constable Stephen Watson to talk about their work for the force.
“That was a really special moment and lovely way to end my career with SYP, it was nice to be able to reflect on some great work and memories,” said PC Middleton.
And what next for this crime-fighting duo?
“Khoba is getting on a bit now, he’s nine and has worked unbelievably hard for SYP his whole life, so I think he’ll enjoy the downtime in front of the fire – and spending quality time with me as I also think about what to do next!”
Put your paws up Khoba and feet up PC Middleton, you two deserve a relaxing retirement and on behalf of South Yorkshire, a massive thank you for your service!