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PCC backs the creation of new laws designed to protect police officers and their dogs

  • Published: 20-03-2018 at 14:03

PCC Marc Jones has written to MPs urging them to back two new pieces of legislation cracking down on offenders who target emergency service workers and their support animals - both due before the House of Commons next month.

A Service Animals (Offences) Bill calls for the introduction of a new offence of attacking a service animal - including police dogs - and broadening sentencing powers.

The Bill, referred to as Finn's Law, follows the stabbing of a police dog named Finn in Hertfordshire in 2016.

Although the German Shepherd was stabbed in the head and chest the suspect was only charged with criminal damage - the only available charge for someone who attacks a police or service animal.

The Lincolnshire Police dog unit is part of a wider East Midlands collaboration and one of the region’s dogs gets seriously injured every six months while on duty. In the latest attack a dog was stabbed in Nottinghamshire on March 15th and needed nine stiches to its face and narrowly missing an eye.

Next month MPs will also consider new legislation which will allow assaults on emergency service workers while on duty to be treated more severely.

To date the Government has supported this potential change in legislation and if MPs continue to do so the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Private Members Bill will mean offences such as malicious wounding, grievous or actual bodily harm, and common assault will become aggravated — and therefore, become a more serious crime — when carried out against police officers, firefighters, medical professionals and prison officers, if the bill becomes law.

It is expected that the new Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill could double the maximum sentence for common assault from six months to a year.

In 2017 270 officers and staff from Lincolnshire Police were assaulted. Between November last year and February this year there have been 65 assaults on officers.

“Attacks on the women, men and animals who put their lives in the line to keep us safe are despicable and the Government deserve credit for helping the legislation get to this point,” said PCC Marc Jones.

“It is no easy task to create legislation in these areas but I’m sure Government is doing what it can to navigate the issues and if possible will deliver the enhanced protection that I and others calling for.”

“We must ensure the punishments society hands down are tough and send a clear message that they will not be tolerated. If we are to keep our communities safe then we must protect those who protect us.”