You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Stab-proof vests for police dogs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/06/2016

Two patrol dogs of the futre try on mini versions © NZ Police Two patrol dogs of the futre try on mini versions Police dogs are being kitted out with stab-proof harnesses.

They wouldn't have saved police dogs Gazza and Gage, who were shot on the job, because the harnesses are not bullet-proof but police dogs will be a lot safer.

"A dog's greatest protection is its speed and agility," says Senior Sergeant Mark Davidson.

Ballistic armour capable of stopping a shot would seriously affect mobility but it may be an option in some circumstances, he said.

Police dog Ike puts the harness through the paces. © NZ Police Police dog Ike puts the harness through the paces.

"We're a dog-loving country and everyone wants our dogs to be safe. But not everyone sees what our business really is - it's about tracking, jumping fences and mobility," he said.

The harnesses have two layered polymer panels to shield the vital organs from stabbing and slashing, and tough fabric elsewhere to dull blows and kicks.

They're comparable to vests worn by officers.

A light, GPS unit or camera can be attached to the vests and they can be used to winch dogs to safety.

Patrol dog Ike models the new harness © NZ Police Patrol dog Ike models the new harness The harnesses weigh just under one kilogram.

They have been trialled on eight dogs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and by October all 130 police dogs will have one.

They're made by Hamilton-based Sabre Tactical NZ.

A new harness for detector dogs is also under consideration.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon