Leicestershire Police has teamed up with a specialist training and development company, Advanced K9 Solutions in Kettering, to provide dog handlers with a unique protective suit to defend them when deployed to dangerous dog incidents.
The protective suit is unique and the first of its kind to be rolled out across any force in the country. It comes after an increase in high risk dog related incidents and to also meet health and safety guidelines.
The benefits of the suit are to primarily provide protection to officers sent on warrants where they are enforcing doors and there is a dog present at the address.
Other incidents may include where a dog has bitten a member of public and is running loose in a street or park and it is the handler’s responsibility to capture the dog and bring it back under control or a dealing with a difficult dog in kennels that needs to be taken to the vets for sedation.
Advanced K9 Solutions and the force and have worked together to design a suit that fits around the handlers PPE (stab and tactical vests), so they don’t have to compromise on their use of spray, Taser or batons. The lightweight and flexible material also means officers are comfortable and able to manoeuvre during particular incidents.
PC John Marston from the force’s Tactical Dog Unit said: “The suits provide an excellent level of safety for the handlers. Its lightweight material assists with the handler’s mobility unlike previous equipment and provides ample protection from dog bites.
“The suits are one of a kind and thanks to our collaboration with partner agencies such as K9 Solutions, this will continue to develop in the future.”
Advanced K9 Solutions was formed in 2014 by Phil Robson, who spent 22 years in law enforcement, where amongst his duties he headed the dog suppression programme.
Here he was responsible for developing techniques to assist officers in controlling and understanding nervous or aggressive dogs. His company has grown from strength to strength and delivers specialist training to law enforcement agencies around the world and produces unique products to assist officers in this specialist field.
Phil Robson, said: “As a result of training police officers around the country, it became apparent that there was a need for better protective clothing whilst dealing with aggressive and nervous dogs.
“It has been valuable to have Leicestershire Police on board with the development of this suit ensuring we met the needs of the officer’s requirements. It has been great working with a dedicated and committed team and I look forward to continuing working with them in the future.”
Currently there are two suits in force and a number of training programmes for all handlers are currently underway.