Staffordshire Police has become one of the first forces in the UK, and the first in the West Midlands region, to roll-out body armour for its police dogs.
The lightweight armour is custom-made to protect police dogs better – both general-purpose dogs and drugs dogs – and will give them protection against knives, bullets, spikes and impact from blunt objects.
After the force evaluated different types, the armour was chosen for its protection level, durability, and design.
They have been produced following feedback from extensive trials conducted by UK police forces.
The chosen design had to make sure the comfort and needs of the police dogs were met, as a priority, as well as the practical requirements of the handler and trainer.
The armour comes in different sizes and has a unique material in its lining that helps dissipate heat away from the dog’s body, which was originally designed for use in space suits.
The rollout comes after ‘Finn’s Law’ (Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act) legislation was introduced in June 2019.
German Shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest as he protected PC Dave Wardell from a knife-wielding robbery suspect in Stevenage in 2016.
The legislation makes it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence. Under the previous law, the attack on Finn could only be treated as criminal damage.
Chief Inspector Dave Kelsall, Head of the force’s Armed/Dog Support Unit, said:
“Police dogs are part of our policing family, one of the team and as such should be seen and valued the same as our police officers.
“This is why Staffordshire Police, along with our national colleagues, gave our police dogs collar numbers.
“Providing personal issue body armour is the next step to ensuring we protect our dogs who face the same dangers as our police handlers and, in fact, are more than likely the first ones running towards the threat.
“They now have the same level of protection to reduce the risk of serious injury or worse, being killed in the line of duty.
“This is a proud moment for me and I am grateful for the investment by Staffordshire Police and hard work by the dog support officers in the work to find the right kit.”
Before you go, we have put all of our best videos, social media groups, and social media handles in one handy place, which you can find by clicking HERE.
Before you go...
We need your help. As former emergency services & armed forces personnel, we pride ourselves on bringing you important, fast-moving and breaking news stories & videos which are free from the negative bias which is often directed at the emergency services & NHS by some sections of the mainstream media.
One of the reasons we started 'Emergency Services News' back in 2018 was because we became tired of reading badly informed stories about the emergency services & NHS which seemed only ever to highlight negative aspects of the job.
We want to be the unheard voice of the remarkable men and women who serve in the emergency services, NHS and armed forces. And with around 500k page views each month, we are getting there!
As income from ads, the mainstay source of income for most publishers, continues to decline; we need the help of you, our readers.
You can support emergency services news from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Every contribution, however big or small, is vital for our future.
Please help us to continue to highlight the life-saving work of the emergency services, NHS and armed forces by becoming a supporter.