A police dog handler, who successfully campaigned for a change in law to help protect service animals, is under investigation over police dog welfare issues.

PC Dave Wardell, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit, has been put on restricted duties and had his police dogs seized while the professional standards department investigates.

When PC Wardell and his then police dog Finn were called to reports of a robbery in Stevenage in 2016, Finn was stabbed in the head and chest by the suspect, but the German shepherd detained the teenager undeterred.

Finn almost died from his injuries, but went on to make a miraculous recovery and return to active duty just 11 weeks later. He retired in March 2017.

PC Wardell and Finn went on to appear on ITV show Britain's Got Talent, and campaigned for Finn's Law, which came into force in 2019 as an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.


The legislation makes it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence.

It was followed by another successful campaign, in 2021, to increase the maximum sentence for cruelty to animals from six months to five years.

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire police said: "We can confirm that the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Professional Standards Department is currently investigating an officer’s conduct with regards to police dog welfare issues.

"The officer is not suspended but is on restricted duties.

"The police dogs in question are being looked after elsewhere.

"At this stage of the investigation we are unable to comment further."