Finns Law – Officer Status – Does it Make a Difference?

Why it’s Important to Have Officer Status – The Value of Deterrent

Finns Law Petition The Next Step

If you haven’t already done so PLEASE consider writing to your MP prior to the debate scheduled for November 14th

You can find how to contact your MP on the Finns Law site using the briefing pack or click here Find your MP

‘Finns Law’ is initiated by a collective of individuals who not all are police personnel. They have raised this petition because they are angered and saddened police dogs and horses are not afforded genuine protection. The deserved support they are receiving is wonderful and K9wh commends them for their action.

Police dogs and horses get

NO realistic protection in lawfinn1

This statement we stand-by and it’s true. Decision makers would have us believe our working animals are protected sufficiently under existing legislation. The simple truth is those laws are not appropriate to the task of protecting police dogs and horses.

All those 100,000+ signatures need no convincing change has to be made but many more will. The debate is the next step in this crusade, there will be more steps to be achieved before our animal public servants get the protection and status they deserve. That, is the Status of Officer.

So we all need to keep the pressure up, make sound arguments, recruit public and influential support and be clear on what this action wants to achieve.

It is relatively easy to dismiss the empty attempts of politicians to convince us that the Criminal Damage Act or the Animal Cruelty Act are suitable for purpose. These politicians are intelligent clever people if they thought about it, they too would see the inadequacies in this legislation.

But there lays the issue. They have not considered the question and that’s what the Finns Law will hopefully address. It will, optimistically thinking, force our political representatives to look at the question being asked……..

Are our police dogs and horses adequately protected against those that would attempt to harm them?

When a perpetrator takes a knife and thrusts it through the ribs of a police dog or bludgeons it across the head with a club he has no consideration those actions may result in that dog’s death. Though these more extreme levels of harm are thankfully still rare punching & kicking and other forms of violence are common.

finnHe may argue he only wished to escape and that may be true, but under current legislation it’s only considered as damage’ to an animal, even if that ‘damage’ results in death. This is simply unacceptable.

Legislation changes move the goal posts in favour of the protectors not the criminals. But Why? How? And, the most relevant question to convince politicians of in support for change…”Is it necessary?”

There is an obvious flaw in the logic for ‘No Change’ or the perception that under existing statutes everything is ‘Ok’. The logic only addresses post event considerations.

“What About Prevention?”

What about altering the mind-set of criminals towards our animal servants-of-law from being just fair game and which any injury or death they cause carries little significance.

K9wh appeals for a culture where harming our animals is not acceptable. And bears severe consequences. That would be a major change and Finns Law will promote the debate on this.

Emotional arguments will not win change alone sadly, yes claims can be made reasoning cruelty or a morale responsibility and yes these are valid.

There is also a rationale to the financial implications of an assault. Costs for veterinary treatment post assault can be astronomical and is footed by a police service under extreme financial pressures, it is ultimately met by the tax payer. There are many reasons to generate change.

But whatever reasoning, the act of deliberately harming our animal protectors must be considered more serious than it is at this present time.

It must be made clear to the attackers their

actions will not be tolerated by our society.

It’s enshrined in our civilisation that punishment is at the forefront of a crime prevention strategy. The more unacceptable the crime the tougher the penalty. Punishment alone does not guarantee an end to assaults but it’s a natural deterrent and provides a consequence for the offenders’ actions.finn-4

For it to work though offences have to be specific in law and in turn the punishment. A murderer for instance, knows exactly what the crime and punishment is. An offender injuring a police officer knows he is likely to face harsh penalties for doing so. There is no ambiguity for the criminal.

Having no appropriate offence specific to harming an animal entrusted with a lawful duty creates ambiguity for the criminal and prosecutors and allows defences to challenge the current practice of shoe-horning attacks into legislation it’s not designed for. It offers no deterrent.

Give our police dogs and horses the protection of officer status. Make it just as serious to harm them as it would be to harm an officer. This is not difficult to achieve. It would send a message to the criminals. Yes there will be problems to overcome in creating legislation but this should be tackled from a positive view-point of making it work and not that of ‘why should we bother

  • It is OUR society that put these animals at the vanguard of public protection.
  • They do it in OUR interest.
  • WE are the benefactors of their dedication.
  • It is OUR responsibility to face the realities of the dangers we impose on them.

If we are not prepared to answer for that responsibility we should not put them in harm or danger.

The value to society from these animal public servants is too great to lose so our only option is to protect them.

Call for change. Let’s make sure our politicians are left in no doubt they are required to support the desire to achieve adequate protection for these beautiful animal public servants.

Officer Status gives some protection. WRITE TO YOUR MP before the debate on the 14th Nov

Mick Gentile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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