Police issue stab-proof harnesses to protect patrol dogs

Patrol dog Ike wearing the stab-proof Mako harness that will be rolled out to police dogs from July. Photo / NZ Police
Patrol dog Ike wearing the stab-proof Mako harness that will be rolled out to police dogs from July. Photo / NZ Police

Police patrol dogs will have their own protective vests to keep them safe while their on the job.

Stab-resistant multi-purpose 'Mako' harnesses are being rolled out for officer's canine companions, which feature two layered polymer panels to shield the vital organs from stabbing and slashing.

The robust overall design, in tough Cordura fabric, offers protection from the more usual hazard of blows and kicks.

The design includes Velcro and loops for attachments - for example a light or GPS unit.

A camera attachment is being looked at.

Sturdy handles fore and aft and strong buckles ensure the dog can be lifted or winched, easily and safely.

The harness weighs just under 1kg, and is designed to not impair agility and speed, to dry quickly and can be worn throughout a shift.

It was trialled on eight dogs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and on two AOS courses.

The rollout is due to start next month, with all 130 patrol dogs kitted out by around October. A new harness for detector dogs is under consideration.

The harness is not bullet proof - and even with ballistic armour, it is unlikely a harness could have saved shooting victims Gazza and Gage.

Wellington Dog Section head Senior Sergeant Mark Davidson was behind the project, and said a dog's greatest protection is its speed and agility.

"Ballistic armour capable of stopping a shot would seriously affect mobility."

However the harness offers "100 per cent more physical protection than dogs have at the moment".

- NZ Herald

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