The UK is set to deploy attack dogs to defend Parliament in new plans to protect Westminster from terrorism following the deadly attack in March.
The dogs would be stationed with police handlers at the gates through which Muslim convert Khalid Masood tried to storm after killing four pedestrians, PC Keith Palmer, and injuring more than 50 with his car.
Former chairman of the House of Commons administration committee, Sir Paul Beresford, told The Sunday Times that dogs were being “seriously considered” in a review of perimeter security.
“If we’d had a dog there PC Palmer might have been saved,” he said, and explained that a dog could stop a terrorist without killing protesters.
“If some idiot who is not a terrorist runs in, and there are a few of those out there, the dog will drop them and they won’t be shot.”
Dogs, typically Alsatians, are already used on gate duties at British military bases during times of increased terror threat and can be trained to respond only to particular commands or acts.
Other measures which are likely to be recommended by the perimeter review include stronger barriers to guard against vehicle attacks, and measures to keep pedestrians further away from Parliament.
Beresford said the gates at Westminster were recognised as a particular point of weakness due to the frequency with which they have to be used, telling The Sunday Times: “The gates have to be open when MPs are coming in to vote, but we recognise it is a chink in the armour.”
A Parliamentary spokesman said: “Two reviews have now been commissioned into the perimeter security at Parliament and into the Houses’ response following the incident on 22nd March.
“Both reviews have encouraged and sought the views of those on the estate on that day and from the public. This feedback will be considered in detail along with other evidence.”