A police force will be trialing an added layer of protection as they roll out protective vests – for its DOGS.
Specialist body armour is currently being tested out by the force’s canine firearms support unit, as well as other items of protective kit.
Avon and Somerset Police currently use more than 20 dogs across different roles, including crowd control and public order, searching for drugs, explosives and currency, and firearms support.
Tri-force dogs inspector Shane Hawkings, from Avon and Somerset Police , said the dogs were “highly-valued members” of the force.
He said: “We’re currently trialling different types of body armour for our Tactical Firearms Support Dogs across Tri-Force.
“These dogs support our Firearms Officers and they’re hugely valued members of our team.
“Choosing this equipment is a balancing act between making sure they are safe, while ensuring they’re still able to do their job effectively.
“It’s very early days in our trial and at the moment we’re in the process of choosing the piece of kit that’s best for us.”
And the trial has been praised on social media, with people describing it as “fantastic news” and “long overdue”.
Keith’s School of Motoring wrote on their Twitter account: “That’s brill and needed… just need the law changed now to protect our furry enforcers even more.”
And the Heddlu Gwent Police added: “Great idea, all police dogs should have them.”
The dogs that work as part of the tri-force operation team are mainly made up of German Shepherds along with Belgian Shepherds, Springer Spaniels and Labradors.
Their initial training can last anywhere between four and 14 weeks and the dogs are tested to Home Office standards to check they are performing.