Police dog Finn to complete final shift today ahead of retirement - with Stevenage stabbing distant memory after regional dog trials medal haul
PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:42 30 March 2017
Danny Loo Photography 2016
Police dog Finn is going out on a high as he completes his final shift today before retirement tomorrow - having won three trophies in the Eastern Regional Police Dog Trials earlier this week.
The German shepherd made national headlines with his handler PC Dave Wardell in October last year when they were both stabbed during the pursuit of a suspect in Stevenage on foot.
PD Finn, who is now eight years old, sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Davies’ Veterinary Specialists in Higham Gobion – where he underwent a life-saving operation.
The incident, in which a teenager has been charged, led to a ‘Finn’s Law’ petition being signed by thousands across the UK as the attack on Finn under the current law was described as ‘criminal damage’.
After making a remarkable recovery, Finn returned to work with PC Wardell in late December – successfully tracking a suspect in Borehamwood during his first shift back.
There had been previous hints of retirement, but this morning PC Wardell confirmed today would be PD Finn’s last shift for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit.
The announcement comes after PD Finn and PC Wardell competed in the Eastern Regional Police Dog Trials yesterday and Tuesday, having been selected to represent the unit alongside PD Ciav and handler PC Graham Ashby.
Unfortunately the duo had to pull out of the competition early as PD Finn sustained a slight muscle strain, but their scores from the first day saw them win three trophies – best tracking, best building search and best overall search.
After resting for much of yesterday and overnight, PD Finn is fit and well to complete his final shift today.
PC Wardell, who has had Finn since he was a nine-month-old puppy, said: “Working with Finn has been an incredible and, more recently, emotional journey.
Eastern Regional Police Dog Trials: Police dog Finn in action with handler PC Dave Wardell
Dave Wardell with PD Finn, as he prepares to compete in the Eastern Regional Police Dog Trials. Picture: Hertfordshire Constabulary
PD Finn at handler PC Dave Wardell's side during the Eastern Regional Police Dog Trials. Picture: Hertfordshire Constabulary
Taking the lead: PD Finn with PC Dave Wardell. Picture: Hertfordshire Constabulary
PD Finn with a loving look to handler PC Dave Wardell during the Eastern Regional Police Dog Trials. Picture: Hertfordshire Constabulary
PC Dave Wardell (right) stands proud in front of PD Finn's trophies with Assistant Chief Con Simon Hawkins from Herts police. Picture: Hertfordshire Constabulary
“Finn genuinely loved to work as a police dog and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with him. His desire to perform his duty to the best of his ability is second to none and I’ll miss patrolling the streets with him.
“Although I am sure he will miss the action, the time has come for him to hang up the lead. He has certainly earned a long and healthy retirement and I am happy to say he will be spending this with me and my family – after all, he is part of the family!”
PC Wardell is currently training a new dog to work alongside, and added: “I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has supported me and Finn, particularly through recent months. The support from around the country and further afield has been overwhelming. Thank you.”
Inspector Iain Clark, who leads the BCH Dog Unit, said: “Finn and Dave have had a great career together with many memorable moments. It is testament to Finn’s character that despite all he has been through, he was still able to not only compete in the regional trials, but also win three trophies.
“The bond between dog and handler is unique, particularly when they have been through so much. I am very grateful for all Finn’s work and he is an absolute credit to Dave.”