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PCC adds weight to campaign to protect police dogs from violence

Sgt Bulmer Buddy PCC

Sgt. Simon Bulmer, Police Dog Buddy with PCC Hardyal Dhindsa

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa today offered his support to campaigners fighting for new legislation to protect police dogs and horses in the line of duty.

The Service Animals (Offences) Bill, which champions what is commonly known as Finn’s Law, is due to have its Second Reading in the House of Commons today following a high-profile campaign to give police dogs and service animals the same rights as police officers when attacked or injured on duty.

The Bill calls for the introduction of a new offence of attacking a service animal in recognition of the severity of such an act. It also advocates the broadening of sentencing powers in situations where a service animal is injured as a result of criminal activity to impose harsher penalties.

Finn’s law is named in honour of the Hertfordshire German Shepherd who was seriously injured last year while chasing a knife suspect. His handler was also injured during the incident.

Although both were attacked, the suspect was charged with ABH on the officer while the only serious charge available for the attack on Finn was criminal damage.

Mr Dhindsa said: “There is widespread public support for a new law which acknowledges the respect and esteem our police dogs are held in and the dangerous situations they encounter every day to keep people safe.

“Currently, the repercussions for injuring or attacking a police dog are minimal as such incidents can only be dealt with under animal cruelty or criminal damage legislation, both of which carry light sentences.

“The adoption of Finn’s Law would ensure our loyal and hardworking canines receive the protection and safety they deserve. It would also serve as a powerful deterrent for those intent on using violence to escape justice. This is the picture across Europe and in the USA, Canada and Australia, and I support all efforts to give our own service animals the right to be treated individually and not as “property” as is currently the case.”

ENDS

Media enquiries:  Sallie Blair 01283 821012

Posted on Friday 23rd February 2018
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