I have met with the Justice Minister alongside a cross-party group of MPs to put the case for Finn’s Law to be introduced.
Recently, a callous attack on police dog Finn took place and this has resulted in a growing number of people calling for a law to be put in place that increases sentencing and provides a stronger deterrent against future attacks on police animals.
The aim of the Bill, which has been given the full title of ‘The Service Animals Offences Bill’, is to create offences of attacking service animals in the course of their duty. This is something that already happens in Canada and other countries so the UK must now catch up.
This Bill has cross-party support. The Ten Minute Rule Bill, which was read on the 5 December 2017, was allowed by the House to move to second stage of the legislative process. Although Ten Minute Rule Bills rarely get the time to go through all legislative stages the unanimity of the House’s decision is a perfect way to garner government support for the Bill.
However, when the Bill comes to the Commons on the 27 April 2018 there are concerns that the UK Government whips will stop the Bill progressing. This meeting with the minister tried to secure assurances that they will not do this.
Finn’s Law has cross-party support and this recent meeting only came about because MPs from both sides of the Commons came together to put pressure on the Government. We were able to talk to the Justice Minister and put forward the case for a new law to protect public service animals in the eyes of the law.
Currently, the law only gives protection to emergency service animals, such as police dogs, in terms of property. This means that a police dog who protects their handler from attack and are injured are treated the same as a broken window. This is clearly wrong and the law needs to change.
I hope that the Minister reflects on our message and come the 27 April 2018 the UK Government support this well-meaning law.