STAFFORDSHIRE’S police tsar is backing a new campaign to have police dogs recognised as serving members of the force and crimes against them treated accordingly.
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis threw his weight behind an e-petition that aims to create a new offence to protect police dogs from criminal acts and violence.
The wording of the petition says: “There are no laws in place to specifically protect against attacks on Police Dogs & we are seeking to extend the cover a Police Officer receives in law.
“Just as Assistance Dogs have been recognised as ‘representing an extension of the assisted person’ - we wish for Police Dogs to be recognised as ‘representing an extension of their handler as a Police Officer’.
“We are therefore seeking for the law to recognise a Police Dog as a serving member of the Police Force & in turn treat any crime against a Police Dog as if they were a regular Police Officer.
“Currently an assault against a Police Dog is merely treated as Criminal Damage.
“We are campaigning to protect those Police Dogs who risk their lives to serve their communities.”
Mr Ellis publicly backed the e-petition, retweeting it to his followers on social networking site Twitter, saying: “Police dogs are just property in law if hurt or killed on duty.
“I’ve watched them train and give their all,” he said. “Let's change it.”
To sign the petition, which currently has more than 6,500 signatures, click here