Officers have paid tributes to the “immense bravery” of a police dog that was stabbed in the head in south London.
Metropolitan Police dog Kaiser and his handler, PC Mark Woolcott, were called after reports of an intruder in the back garden of a house in Orpington late on the night of Sunday 30 May.
The pair began a search of the area alongside other officers, and found a man down a track near to the location.
As Kaiser tried to subdue him, he was stabbed up to five times on the top of his head and once below his eye, the Met said.
Despite his injuries, Kaiser “was able to keep control of the man for long enough to allow officers to take hold of him”, the police force said.
Kaiser was taken to a vet and needed stitches to the head, but narrowly avoided serious injury as blows to the top of his head were found to have struck bone. An officer suffered a broken wrist in the fight and is expected to be off work for a month.
A 43-year-old man, who was armed with a large kitchen knife and suffers from severe mental health issues, was detained under the Mental Health Act.
Met superintendent Emma Richards said: “I want to pay tribute to Kaiser and PC Woolcott for the immense bravery they showed in tackling this armed man. Kaiser was stabbed multiple times in the head and is lucky to be alive.
“My thoughts are also with the officer who sustained a broken wrist. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on duty as soon as he is able.
“We should recognise that the man responsible for this attack was suffering from a mental health crisis. He is getting the care he needs now and a decision will be taken in due course as to whether it would be appropriate for any criminal charges to follow.
“Incidents where mental health is a significant factor can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. They make up an increasing proportion of the calls our officers respond to and present a unique set of challenges.
“The events of Sunday night are a reminder of the risks that our men, women and animals face on the front line. We ask them to go towards danger and uncertainty on a daily basis in order to keep the public safe and I am proud that they do so with such commitment and bravery each and every time.”