By Amy Farnworth
Gloucestershire Police Force has become the first in the country to provide all their police dogs with ‘cooling coats’.
As the temperatures show no signs of abating, Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, has issued all his service dogs with jackets that will help keep them cool during this summer’s heatwave.
Dog Section PC Claire Todd said, “They are like coats. They’re lightweight, very easy to put on and fit comfortably under their police harness.
“The dogs aren’t bothered by them at all. They have free movement and the coats have been brilliant in keeping them cool in this very hot weather.
“So we’ve had a lot less panting going-on when they’ve been training and working. “
So far, the dogs have been taking part in drugs training wearing the coats and have been able to search for longer without any signs of fatigue.
They’ve even been involved in cash and firearms recoveries, working for periods of up to four hours without overheating.
PC Todd said: “The welfare of our police dogs and horses of Gloucestershire is of paramount importance and we appreciate all the support and assistance we get from the PCC in assuring the health and wellbeing of our dogs”.
The coats have been rolled out in response to a campaign to introduce a parliamentary bill called The Service Animals (Offences) Bill, or as it’s more commonly known among Gloucestershire Police Force, Finn’s Law.
The bill, which returned to the House of Commons on Friday, aims to provide greater protection for police dogs and horses and to make attacks on police animals a criminal offence.
It follows the stabbing of a police dog named Finn, who was seriously wounded when a teenage boy attacked him and his handler, PC Dave Wardell, in October 2016.