Federal police dogs issued bullet proof vests

By Paul Hemsley

Dogs on the frontline of dangerous federal law enforcement operations are to be issued with special four-legged bulletproof vests as part of efforts by the Australian Federal Police to keep their canine best friends out of harm’s way when on active duty.

A tender issued to the market by the AFP this week reveals the elite crime fighting outfit wants specialised body armour to provide ballistic protection for its police dogs performing high risk and public order duties within Australia and overseas.

The protective wear reveals that the AFP is increasingly viewing its dogs as a valuable asset rather than an expendable commodity when it comes to dealing with danger.

Dogs have for years been used by the police, customs, military and private security outfits as both a detection tool to sniff out explosives and drugs as well as a defacto weapon that can take a bite out adversaries.

But an escalation in the use of firearms, especially pistols, has increased the risks of gunshot and ballistics wounds to dogs as well as officers on duty, especially when offenders are fleeing.

The AFP’s preferred features for the dog vests also includes their weight to be no more than 2.1 kilograms, constructed with consideration of weight, minimised heat retention and range of movement, have removable ballistic panels for carrier cleaning and be available in both “black and camouflage” colours.

But police dogs aren’t the only ones getting a treat from the AFP as their human counterparts are also receiving an upgrade to their protective equipment.

The so-called “K9 ballistic vests” are one part of tender from the AFP where the overall requirements for a potential supplier cover a broad range of policing equipment including general duties ballistic vests, tactical operators ballistic vests, covert ballistic vests, ballistic helmets and shields.

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