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Stronger legal protection sought for police officers, staff and service animals

27 March, 2018

Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has shown his support for two important changes in the law currently being considered by MPs in parliament. Writing to MPs and the Home Secretary the Commissioner has called for support in passing the proposed new Bills known as Finn’s Law and the Protect the Protectors Bill.

The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill, also known as the Protect the Protectors Bill, would create a new offence of assaulting any emergency worker, volunteer or member of staff while carrying out their duty. This would provide increased protection for officers, staff and Special Constables who may be assaulted in the course of their everyday work. By imposing tougher sentences it will send a clear message that we, as a society, will not tolerate these kind of attacks.

MPs from across Parliament have shown their support for this Bill at previous stages and with Government support it could progress to become law, offering stronger protection for officers and staff working in Lancashire.

The second draft piece of legislation, the Service Animals (Offences) Bill, is known as Finn’s Law named after a Police Dog who was attacked with a knife while apprehending a suspect. This law aims to address the difference between the way assaults on personnel are treated as differently from those on service animals. Finn’s attacker was convicted of Actual Bodily Harm against his police handler but only criminal damage when it came to Police Dog Finn.

The Commissioner has written to the Home Secretary to see whether the offence being proposed in Finn’s Law could be put in place by the Government. This reflects the dangers that our service animals put themselves into all the time in keeping our communities safe, whether it’s horses at major public events or police dogs tackling suspects and searching out illegal materials.

Unfortunately, officers, staff, volunteers and animals in Lancashire have seen the same sort of attacks and assaults that all too often take place on the police up and down the country. These changes in the law would see better protection for everyone at Lancashire constabulary.

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