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Sussex Police first force to celebrate Finn’s Law with the star of the show himself

News   •   Aug 22, 2019 17:55 BST

Sussex Police has welcomed home its very own policing hero and national treasure – police dog Finn - to celebrate a new law in his name.

Finn and his owner PC Dave Wardell were invited to Headquarters in Lewes on Thursday (August 22) to commemorate our dog unit and their handlers following the passing of Finn’s Law.

Finn, who was trained by the Surrey and Sussex dog unit, was tragically stabbed while protecting PC Wardell in Hertfordshire, in 2016.

Photo credit: Dave Wardell

Despite suffering multiple stab wounds to Finn’s chest and head, only criminal damage charges could be passed. Finn was lucky to make a full recovery and won the nation’s hearts on this year’s Britain’s Got Talent show.

Photo credit: Dave Wardell

Dave explained: “It has been an extremely emotional two or three years since Finn was seriously injured. Finn was kicked and punched throughout his career and nothing ever happened, which I think is wrong.

“If we’re going to use these animals, and I believe we should as they are phenomenal at what they do, we need to make sure that we have every available protection to them and this law that has been approved does just that.”

The new legislation, called Finn’s Law, prevents those who cause injury or harm to a service animal from claiming self-defence and is now seen as a criminal offence.

The ceremony saw Chief Constable Giles York present each of the serving Sussex and Surrey dogs with a certificate of recognition and an engraved collar, the latter of which will be given to all retired Surrey and Sussex police dogs.

CC York added: “I think this is a key moment and really poignant in the light of recent weeks in policing. Not only is it us who put ourselves in harm’s way, it is the dogs and horses as well.

“It is an absolute privilege to have Finn and Dave his dog handler here and I am delighted to be the first police force to welcome the pair at a recognition ceremony.

“The work that has been put in to quite literally change the law allows our working dogs to be recognised in a completely different way.”

High Sheriff of East Sussex Violet Hancock said: “I am incredibly pleased to be here today for this event. I was at Sussex Police headquarters the very day the law was passed and the Chief Constable mentioned how an award ceremony should be held.

“I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a law before and well done to everyone who played a part in getting this law passed.”