Four-legged crime fighters will be better-protected in the line of duty after West Mercia Police introduced stab-proof vests for them.
Police dogs are instrumental in the fight against crime by aiding officers sniffing out people, drugs, cash and firearms and by detaining suspects and protecting officers.
West Mercia Police is one of the first forces in the UK to introduce body armour for its canines to defend against knives, spikes and blunt objects.
The custom made vests, which protect the K9’s chest and vital organs also include a lining first used in space suits and help keeps the dog cool.
The force is giving each of their 40 police dogs the body armour following a spate of knife attacks.
The newly supplied vests were brought into necessary action after a West Mercia Police dog PD Canto was injured back in 2017.
The attack happened in a property in Bridgnorth after reports of a man with a knife.
When PD Canto arrived at the scene with his Handler PC Emma Worrell, the suspect attacked him by stabbing him in the chest with a kitchen knife.
Luckily, PD Canto made it out alive and has continued to keep crime off the streets after a full recovery.
Chief Constable Pippa Mills, also the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for police dogs, said:
“As the NPCC lead for police dogs I am pleased that West Mercia is one of the first forces in the UK to fully equip its police dogs with protective vests.
“Our dogs carry out a vital role in supporting frontline policing and are an important part of our policing family.
“They are often the first to run towards a potential threat and can be at risk of being harmed.
“Sadly, we have experienced how it can affect the force when a dog is injured during the line of duty and it means a lot that we are able to equip our dogs with these protective vests to help prevent them from harm.
“Dog welfare is one of my top priorities as NPCC lead for police dogs and I want to ensure that we continue to protect our animals, as much as we protect our officers.”
The K9 vests are now being rolled out across the country after extensive testing following the introduction of “Finn’s Law” in 2019.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act prevents those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence.
The law is named after Finn, a police dog was stabbed while pursuing a suspect with a knife.
Source: Copyright BullivantMedia