Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping today welcomed the finalisation of new legislation to protect police dogs and horses killed or injured in the line of duty.
The historic new law has been given Royal Assent and means offenders who cause unnecessary suffering to service animals can be prosecuted and imprisoned if found guilty.
It was inspired by the Hertfordshire police dog Finn who was seriously injured while trying to apprehend a man in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, in 2016.
Mr Tipping offered his full support to the campaign to instate Finn’s Law and previously wrote to the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd pressing for change after Nottinghamshire police dog Quantum also received stab wounds on duty in the city.
Reacting to the development, Mr Tipping said: “Today is a truly historic occasion for our brave and dedicated police dogs and horses who give much for the safety of others.
“This law could not be more welcome and I hope that people heed the very real threat of imprisonment it carries.
“Police dogs and horses face dangerous situations to protect ordinary people from harm and it is only right they are given the full credit and respect of our police officers.”
The Service Animals (Offences) Bill also broadens sentencing powers in situations where a service animal is injured as a result of crime but prior to its introduction, there were no laws that specifically protected police dogs or horses.
Campaigners said police dogs and other service animals should not be regarded as “objects” or “property” and called for a new law which recognises their individual contribution to public safety.