Service dogs issued with collar numbers
Collar numbers will be issued to all current serving and future police dogs in Norfolk and Suffolk in recognition of the vital role they play within the organisation.
The decision to allocate collar numbers to each of the 24 dogs currently serving across both Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies was an initiative put forward following the successful passing of Finn’s Law in June 2019. Finn’s Law was first introduced following the stabbing of police dog Finn in 2015.
Hertfordshire police dog Finn was stabbed whilst he and his handler PC Dave Wardell were attempting to arrest an offender. Finn sustained life threatening injuries and faced a long road to recovery. The offender was charged with Actual Bodily Harm on PC Wardell and only a charge of criminal damage to Finn was added to the charge.
PC David Wardell has since campaigned to get working dogs within the emergency services protection whilst on duty. The new bill, which was first passed through parliament in August 2018 makes it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence and will increase sentences for those who harm animals in the line of duty.
Following a suggestion from Lorne Green, Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) earlier this year, each dog will be allocated a ‘PD’ number displayed on a brass-collar tag and also on a tactical velcro patch to attach to a harness.
PCC Lorne Green, who has championed more protection and recognition of police dogs, said: "Police dogs and their handlers play a vital part in fighting crime and keeping us safe.
"They make a hugely important contribution to policing and, thanks to the introduction of Finn’s Law, they are now better protected legally. By now assigning them PD numbers, we are making a public declaration of how much we value them and appreciate the work they and their handlers do.”
Norfolk’s Temporary Superintendent Kris Barnard said: ‘Giving collar numbers to our hardworking service dogs is in an effort to recognise police dogs as truly being part of the policing family. We must reflect on how much they are valued.
"Not only members of staff but members of the public often express interest in new dogs, good work and retiring dogs - this will allow a more formal marking of key events for dogs as well as their handlers.”
Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore said: "Dogs are a hugely important part of the policing family in Suffolk. Along with their handlers, they do a fantastic job and it is important that we recognise their role in keeping us all safe.
"I fully supported the adoption of Finn’s Law, which protects service animals – including police dogs. Assigning collar numbers to our police dogs is a visible sign of our appreciation of the valuable contribution they make to policing in the county and I am pleased to see this introduced locally.”