Police chief says Finn’s Law is recognition for bravery of service animals

This month, we saw the long-awaited finalisation of legislation to protect hardworking police dogs and horses, writes Paddy Tipping, Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 6th May 2019, 9:00 am
Paddy Tipping who has been re-elected at the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
Paddy Tipping who has been re-elected at the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

If you want to know how to influence a Government to implement historic change then you need look no further than the campaign for Finn’s Law.

It was 2016 when Hertfordshire police dog Finn was seriously injured while trying to apprehend a man in Stevenage.

Finn’s handler PC Dave Wardell was also injured during the incident but the suspect could only face charges of ABH in relation to PC Wardell as no corresponding legislation was available for the injury to Finn.

Paddy Tipping, PCC for Nottinghamshire, with police dog Quantum and his handler.

I am proud to say that from the outset I supported the campaign for Finn’s Law, which was introduced through the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, led by Sir Oliver Heald MP.

Finn’s Law received Royal Assent last month.

What pleases me most about this new law is the recognition it gives to the valuable role service animals play in protecting the public – and their handlers.

Every day, police officers and service animals confront dangerous situations that risk injury and life.

It is only right that they are protected for their diligence.

The shop workers trade union USDAW is also fighting for greater protection in law when its members are confronted with abusive or violent customers.

Shop-workers play a frontline role in protecting the public on the sale of offensive weapons and age-restricted products.

They deserve to do their duties without fear.

This week, we heard further examples of people utilising 999 for the wrong reasons, including reporting receiving the wrong change from the hair-dressers.

Misplaced calls can potentially put someone else in danger and I would like to reiterate the presence of the 101 number for non-emergency calls.

Police officers, staff, volunteers and animals all work hard to keep us safer.

Let’s treat them all with the respect they deserve.