Police constable 'emotional' after Finn's Law given Royal Assent

PUBLISHED: 12:26 12 April 2019

PD Finn is ready to return to work.

PD Finn is ready to return to work.

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Finn’s Law has now become law in the UK after it was given Royal Assent on Tuesday.

Finn’s Law has now become law in the UK after it was given Royal Assent last Tuesday.

Passing of the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill or ‘Finn’s Law’, as it is more commonly known, means a section of the current law of self-defence – which is often used by people who harm service animals – has now been removed.

The law is named after police dog Finn who was attacked in Stevenage in October 2016 – along with his handler PC David Wardell – by a 16-year-old boy from Lewisham.

Finn was stabbed in the chest and head and underwent a five-hour operation which saved his life.

PC Dave Wardell and PD Finn are both recovering well after being seriously injured attending a call out in Stevenage.PC Dave Wardell and PD Finn are both recovering well after being seriously injured attending a call out in Stevenage.

The offender was charged with criminal damage for the attack, and sentenced to eight months’ detention.

PC Wardell was delighted to see the law passed, saying: “This has been an amazing journey and such a positive campaign to be part of. All this positivity came from such a negative event.

“Finn has attended every stage through Parliament and is quite a feature there now.

“I would like to thank every single person who has supported us through this. I can’t believe we’ve made history.

“I’m a little emotional, but so happy Finn has gone down in history. What a legacy for the job he absolutely loved doing every day of his career.”

The bill was first brought to parliament in 2017, by North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald, who has been a strong supporter of the campaign.

Finn, who is now retired, was part of Beds, Cambs and Herts Dog Unit at the time of the stabbing.

Assistant chief constable Paul Fullwood added: “I am thrilled for Dave, our service animals and all those who have been in support of the campaign.

“What happened that night in 2016 was truly horrendous and the injuries Finn suffered were almost fatal.

“Our police dogs are part of our family and this incident affected us all.

“Our dogs, their handlers and their colleagues run towards danger and do some amazing work 24/7 to protect us and it is right they are seen as more than property.

“I know this has been a long and emotional journey for PC Wardell, his family and supporters but the outcome is so positive and well worth every moment, well done.”

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