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After a long hiatus, the Service Animals (Offences) Bill – also known as Finn’s Law – is back on the agenda for Parliamentary Committee consideration tomorrow (Wednesday 16 January).
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Lorne Green has written to the county’s MPs this week asking for their support of the Bill, which seeks to protect police dogs and horses.
Across the Norfolk and Suffolk police forces, there are currently 25 dog handlers working with around 50 dogs, from those trained for general searching and tracking purposes, to those specially trained to search out drugs, explosives, weapons and cash.
In his letter, the PCC writes: “You will appreciate the hugely important role that service animals play in both crime prevention and enforcement.
“There are many tales of heroism, such as those of one of our own Police Dogs, Neeko.”
In 2017, Police Dog (PD) Neeko was involved in the pursuit of a man suspected of being involved in the supply of drugs.
Having abandoned his vehicle on a dead end road in the Wisbech area, the suspect had run across the A47 bypass into a field and then onto a nearby housing estate.
Arriving on scene with his handler, Neeko immediately picked up a track heading towards a large fence which surrounded the back garden of a house. The area was searched to no avail, but Neeko picked up another track running parallel to the row of houses.
Getting to the last house, PD Neeko lifted his head and pulled towards the driveway where, underneath a parked caravan, he found the suspect – who was subsequently arrested for dangerous driving, failing to stop and possession of an offensive weapon – hiding.
Citing PD Neeko as an example in his letter, the PCC has urged MPs to “encourage positive consideration of this Bill, so that everything possible can be done to ensure Finn’s Law can be given early passage into law.”Service Animals (Offences) Bill - Letter dated 15.1.19 (PDF, 287 KB)