Police dogs are being issued with stab proof vests to protect them from violent criminals.
West Mercia Police is one of the first forces in the UK to introduce body armour for its canines to defend against knives, spikes and blunt objects.
The custom made vests - which protect the chest - include a lining first used in space suits, which helps to keep the dog cool.
The force is giving each of their 40 police dogs armour following a spate of knife attacks.
In 2017, Police dog Canto was almost killed when he was stabbed while officers tried to arrest a man wielding a knife at a house in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
The five-year-old German Shepherd was knifed in the chest after the suspect attacked him and his handler PC Emma Worrall.
Canto survived after undergoing emergency surgery and was awarded a bravery medal.
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.”
The vests have been rolled out after extensive testing following the introduction of "Finn's Law" in 2019.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act prevents those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence.
The law is named after Finn, a police dog stabbed while pursuing a suspect with a knife.
Chief Constable Pippa Mills, of West Mercia Police, added: “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.”
Watch: Dogs get recognition at Central Police Dog Training School