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Team Baloo

2273. Mandy Chapman

Mandy Chapman, from Essex, is a retired Police Officer who adopted injured police dog, Baloo, in 2018, and has since championed the role retired service dogs can continue to play with police forces by improving the welfare of officers, particularly those involved in traumatic incidents.

Baloo was deployed with Essex Police for one year, before she was severely injured whilst on a job, resulting in her unable to return to police work.  Baloo’s gentle nature with people encouraged Mandy to take her on wellbeing visits, sharing her story and offering a form of comfort to those involved in difficult incidents. 

Mandy has since undertaken thousands of welfare visits to Police Officers and staff throughout Essex and helped create ‘OK9’, the wellbeing dog unit that has been adopted by the majority of UK Police forces. 

Mandy set up ‘The Team Baloo Fund’ in 2020, to support the work that Baloo undertakes, which now includes visits to schools, community projects, care homes, and other organisations, helping to foster positive relations between the public and the Police in addition to promoting the importance of wellbeing and mental health.

In a personal letter to Mandy, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

“As a fellow dog owner, I was touched to hear how you adopted Baloo, providing her with a home while helping her recover from horrific injuries sustained on duty.

“That was an act of true kindness – but then you did something even more remarkable. Together with Baloo, you conducted hundreds of welfare visits to police officers and civilian staff members, reaching out to those coping with the aftermath of traumatic incidents.

“From your own experiences as a police officer, you know just how critical it is for colleagues to have the right support – and so it is testament to your compassion that you have decided to make a difference in this way.”

Congratulating Mandy on her award, The Rt Hon Priti Patel DBE, MP for Witham, said: 

“Congratulations to my constituent Mandy Chapman, who has been awarded with the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award. As Home Secretary, I saw the immense bravery of our frontline Police officers. They are the bravest and the best of us all in the way they deal with traumatic and often life changing incidents, as they protect us from harm.

“Mandy’s exceptional work with retired service dogs to support Police Officers and staff through some of the hardest of times is a testament to her dedication to public service and to our frontline officers. Thank you Mandy for your dedication and service to our country, both as a Metropolitan Police Officer and in your role supporting OK9.”

Mandy said:

“What a wonderful surprise and I’m so happy that this wonderful dog will be highlighted by this prestigious Points Of Light Award. Baloo has changed so many lives and has spread smiles wherever she goes. Her wellbeing role has proven to support Police Officers, Police Staff and the public. It’s been my honour to share her.”

Find out more about ‘Team Baloo’ 

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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