A statue to recognise the dedication, loyalty and sacrifices of police dogs from around the country has been unveiled in the same week that so-called ‘Finns Law’ gained Royal Assent.
The National K9 Police Dog Memorial was unveiled in Oaklands Park in Chelmsford, Essex, by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.
Former Essex Police dog handler Paul Nicholls was inspired to campaign for the statue after the death of his police dog ‘Sabre’ in 2006.
Dog handlers from around the country, accompanied by their trusty companions, attended the ceremony.
A plaque in Staffordshire is dedicated to animals which have served on the front line of policing, but Mr Nicholls wanted to see a “more fitting tribute”.
The statue, designed by artist John Doubleday, shows a police officer kneeling beside a German shepherd and a cocker spaniel to “draw attention to the dogs, rather than the handler”.
Mr Nicholls, from Clacton-on-Sea, told the crowd his “world fell apart” when Sabre died of cancer in 2006.
“They really are the unsung heroes of the police service. They do so much people don’t see,” he said.
Police dog units provide a vital service to officers on the front line and are often the first to face armed and dangerous criminals who refuse to comply with lawful demands which are made by police officers.
The Bishop of Chelmsford gave a blessing before the speech from Commissioner Dick and a police dog display followed, which saw several volunteers successfully taken down by police dogs.
Commissioner Dick said:
“Sometimes police dogs have lost their lives in the course of their duty”.
“Hence it is really important that we have a memorial like this and that the public is aware of the work they do”.
‘Finns Law’ means that suspects will no longer be able to claim ‘self-defence’ when, for example, a police dog helps apprehend them.
PD Finn, who inspired the new law, was stabbed multiple times when he tried to apprehend a male who had also stabbed his handler, Dave Wardell.
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