The Chichester MP spoke this morning, Friday 8th February, in support of the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill that seeks to increase protections for serving animals in the Police Force.

The Bill, commonly known as Finns Law, was brought forward by Sir Oliver Heald and has been supported by the Government and Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katie Bourne. The Bill came about after Police Dog Finn was stabbed with a 10-inch blade to the chest and head during an arrest on the 5th October 2016 when he and his handler, PC David Wardell, tried to arrest a robbery suspect. PC Wardell who walked away from the incident with a stab wound to the hand said: ‘Finn stopped the knife from reaching me and saved my life. Even after being stabbed through the lung Finn did not let go of the suspect until other Police Units arrived and arrested him’.

Finn’s injuries were so severe that he required four hours of life-saving surgery and 11 weeks of recovery. In her speech in the House of Commons today the Chichester MP praised Finn’s actions and said his story gives her “faith and hope that there are dogs like this on our streets to protect us.”

Gillian went onto praise the efforts of local police dogs in Chichester who are instrumental in a wide range of police activity locally. She shared the story of Isla who helped her handler arrest three car robbery suspects in the Chichester area. She went on to name all the Police Dogs that have made recent arrests in Chichester over recent months.

The Chichester MP concluded her speech by quoting fellow Liverpudlian Paul McCartney saying: “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”

PCC Katie Bourne said: “I have seen how police can use the unique qualities of dogs in tracking offenders and helping to detain them, and their work at ports and airports to spot drugs and weapons being smuggled. Sussex Police have also reported that dogs have helped find distressed and potentially suicidal people who have gone missing. These extraordinary animals and others used by police forces around the country deserve the best possible legal protection so that offenders think twice before trying to harm them.“