Two new police watchdogs have been appointed to help the police forces unsung heroes.

Marie Jones and Clare Vickers have been awarded the roles of volunteer dog welfare visitors with the pair to keep an eye on how the police look after the canine cops.

The North Wales scheme was set up by the region's Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones, a former police inspector.

Working alongside colleagues in Cheshire, Ms Jones and Ms Vickers make monthly unannounced visits to view dog training sessions or visit dog handlers and their canine companions out on patrol.

Their brief is to ensure police dogs are properly cared for, happy and their working conditions are acceptable.

Arfon Jones said: “The police dogs are often the unsung heroes of North Wales Police and they perform an absolutely vital role.

"It’s important North Wales Police is transparent and the general public has confidence that the dogs are properly cared for and trained well.

“It is important we have independent checks and controls in place to ensure good animal welfare standards are robustly maintained. We must ensure our dogs are happy and well cared for.”

Ms Jones and Ms Vickers are both dog lovers and get a great deal of satisfaction out of the role.

Ms Jones is a former teacher and university lecturer from Deganwy, while Ms Vickers, of Abergele, is a retired plumbing company director.

Ms Vickers said: “It’s such a worthwhile scheme. It’s actually amazing to watch the training and to see the close bond and the relationship between dog and handler. You can read how happy a dog is and how it wants to work with its handler.”

"The scheme is the canine equivalent of the custody visitor scheme where lay people visit prisoners in custody to ensure they are being properly cared for. It’s a very worthwhile scheme and I’m delighted to be involved.”

North Wales Police sergeant Howard Watts, who has served as a police officer for 27 years - 17 of which have been as a dog handler, said he had long wanted to see a dog visiting scheme introduced.

He said: “We need to be transparent and the public across North Wales and Cheshire need to have confidence we treat our dogs well and they are happy and well cared for.

“We currently have 15 operational dogs in North Wales. They are used for different tasks which is why we have different breeds. My

“He can also search for cash, Sterling and Euros, and firearms including component parts.

Constable Gareth Jones, who has 17 year’s service as a police officer of which eight have been as a dog handler, says he believes the dog welfare visitors have an important role to play.