PC Dave Wardell from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit and his retired Police Dog Finn are being congratulated for their involvement in Britain’s Got Talent following the final on Sunday night.
PC Wardell and German shepherd Finn appeared on the ITV show to perform mind tricks for celebrity judges Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.
The pair were one of the favourites to win, but singing Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery came out on top in a public vote.
After finishing fifth out of 11 acts, PC Wardell said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed by the public support for us and I would like to thank everyone who voted for us, I can’t believe how far we have come.
“At the heart of this journey for myself and Finn has always been to show the nation just how important all of our service animals are and to promote the importance of Finn’s Law.
“This has been a truly amazing experience. I have met some brilliant, talented and humble people along the way and it is something I will never forget.
“I genuinely cannot thank those people enough who have supported us along the way, we wouldn’t be where we are without a strong team behind us.”
In October 2016, Dave and Finn had been called to reports of a robbery in Stevenage in October 2016.
During the pursuit of the suspect, PC Wardell released Finn with a command to detain the suspect. The suspect attempted to jump over a fence but Finn kept pace and was able to take hold of his leg. Dave joined Finn and within moments, the suspect lunged at them. He brutally stabbed Finn in the head and chest whilst Dave suffered an injury to his hand. Finn didn’t let the suspect go though and in a short while other officers arrived and he was arrested. Finn, whose actions protected Dave’s life that night, almost died from his injuries. However, he did make a miraculous recovery and was back on active duty just 11 weeks later. He retired in March 2017. The 16 year old offender was charged with Criminal Damage to Finn and an offence of ABH for the injuries caused to PC Wardell.
T/ACC Paul Fullwood from the BCH Joint Protective Services Command said: “A huge congratulations to Dave and Finn. Dave is extremely passionate about animal welfare and I am so proud they have achieved all they have after being through something so traumatic.
“To make the finals of Britain’s Got Talent is fantastic and they have represented the policing family exceptionally well. They truly have captured the hearts of the nation in their quest to shine a light on the great work of our service animals.”
In 2017 Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald QC MP brought the Animal Services Bill (Finn’s Law) to Parliament and following a strong campaign by Dave and Finn, it was given Royal Assent in April this year (2019).
ACC Paul Fullwood continued: “Dave and Finn have been working tirelessly and can now reap the rewards of their efforts in support of service animals. We cannot underestimate the significance of the change in law and we look forward to seeing what else they will achieve together.”