WEST Mercia Police dogs are one of the first in the UK to be given protective vests after one of its animals was stabbed in the chest.

All of the force's police dogs have been issued with protective vests to help protect them from knives and other bladed weapons as well as the impact from blunt objects.

It comes after PD Canto was stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife in 2017 in Bridgnorth while attending an incident with handler PC Emma Worrall.

Fortunately, Canto was able to make a full recovery and return to work, and even went on to receive a medal from the animal charity, PDSA, for his bravery.


PC Worrall said: “If at the time Canto was equipped with one of these vests it could have helped protect him from the weapon and saved him from the pain and injury it inflicted on him.

“Protecting our force’s police dogs means a lot to myself, as I have witnessed first-hand my own dog being seriously injured in the line of duty so I welcome this move and can’t wait for them to be wearing them when responding to incidents.”

Chief constable Pippa Mills, who is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for police dogs, said West Mercia was one of the first forces in the UK to fully equip its police dogs with protective vests.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

“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 move also comes after the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill was introduced in 2019 after a police dog suffered a stab wound to his head and chest as he protected his handler from a man carrying a knife during a robbery in Stevenage in 2016.