A police dog has been badly injured and an officer is facing weeks off work following a knife attack in south London.
Police Dog Kaiser was on patrol with his handler, PC Mark Woolcott, at around 23:00hrs on Sunday, 30 May when they were called to a report of an intruder in the back garden of a house on Luxted Road in Orpington.
The pair responded alongside other officers and started a search of the area. They found a man down a track behind the house.
As Kaiser tried to subdue the man, he was stabbed up to five times on the top of his head and once below his eye.
Despite the attack, Kaiser was able to keep control of the man for long enough to allow officers to take hold of him.
He was rushed to the vets where thankfully the blows to the top of his head were found to have struck bone, narrowly avoiding lasting injury, or worse.
He required stitches and was kept in overnight for observation but is expected to make a full recovery.
In the struggle that followed the attack on Kaiser, another officer sustained a broken wrist and is expected to be off work for up to a month.
The man responsible for the attack had left his house in Biggin Hill earlier the same evening, armed with a large kitchen knife. He is also believed to have used a golf club to smash the window of a car before disappearing into fields nearby.
He is 43 and suffers from severe mental health issues. His family had alerted police to his disappearance and a search had been carried out but he could not immediately be found.
Following the attack on Kaiser, the man was detained under the Mental Health Act and is now receiving treatment at an appropriate facility.
Superintendent Emma Richards, from the Met’s Taskforce, which includes the Dog Support Unit, 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 frontline. 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.”