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  • Q&A - Catherine and Jessie

    Q&A - Catherine Jurczenko, Border Force Officer & Jessie, Border Force Sniffer Dog


    Border Force working dogs, along with their handlers, play a vital role at Heathrow. The handlers train the dogs to use their sensitive noses to identify and stop drugs, firearms, large volumes of cash and other suspicious or illegal items from entering the country. We spoke to Border Force colleague Catherine Jurczenko, who features in tonight’s episode, about her job protecting the borders at Heathrow and what its like working with Jessie, the spaniel.

    How long have you worked at Heathrow?

    I’ve been at the airport for seven years, I started as a Border Force Officer in the Freight team.

    What do you like most about your job?

    The highlight of my work has got to be working alongside Jessie, the spaniel! I love coming to work and seeing her so excited that she will be working alongside me all shift. I constantly get told by passengers and members of airport staff that I have the best job in the world, and I’d agree with them! There’s nothing better than your dog finding what its trained to look for and then knowing that you’ve contributed to taking either cash out of the criminals’ hands or taking drugs off the streets.

    What has been your most memorable moments whilst working at Heathrow?

    My first seizure with Jessie. At the time I was a brand-new handler with a new dog, I’ll never forget it.

    We’ve seen you in previous series of this TV programme, how many years have you been involved?

    This is the third year I’ve been filmed for the show alongside the Cash teams. I find the filming enjoyable, but it can be tiring too. For this series I was with the crew for 3 days, which doesn’t sound like long, but our days are full on and we crammed loads of activity into them.

    What did you enjoy most about filming this time round?

    I enjoyed chatting to the crew, they have loads of experiences and encounters which we don’t always see around the airport.

    Did you work during lockdown and did your job change much?

    Yes, I was working during the peak of the pandemic. We received a lot of the repatriation flights for UK citizens abroad, and we adapted to handling fewer passenger flights but an increase in freight flights carrying PPE destined for the NHS and other industries.

    Thank you to Catherine for this insight into her role at Heathrow, working for UK Border Force.