Willy Bach with Sgt Richard Bradley and "Cassie"
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach today added his voice to a campaign to give police dogs and horses’ greater protection in law if attacked on duty.
The PCC spoke of his support for the introduction of the so-called Finn’s Law as The Service Animals (Offences) Bill was due to receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons. This has now been scheduled for later in April.
He added that he intends to speak in support of the Bill when it reaches the second reading in the House of Lords.
The Bill, if supported, would make it an offence to attack a service animal as well as broaden sentencing powers where a service animal is injured or killed by criminal activity to reflect the severity of such an act of violence.
It follows the horrific case of Hertfordshire police dog Finn who was seriously injured on duty last year while trying to apprehend a knife suspect. His handler was also injured during the same 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 as service animals are regarded as “property” in current legislation.
A high profile campaign led by Pc Dave Wardell and North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald which has received cross-party support aims to give police dogs and other service animals the same rights as police officers when attacked or injured while protecting the public.
As ministers prepared to debate the issue, Willy Bach said: “Our police dogs play an invaluable role as we seek to prevent crime and apprehend offenders. They face the same dangers and risks as our police officers. In my view, there should be the same sort of penalty for anyone willing to use violence to prevent these animals from doing their job as there would be if it was an officer.
“There’s strong support politically for Finn’s law and I will add my own support in the House of Lords where I will speak and vote in its support. I’m hopeful the Government will finally listen to campaigners and close the legal gap that currently exists by ensuring our police dogs are recognised and protected in law for the contribution they make to public safety.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 15th March 2018