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News Report Page 15 of 18
Publication Date:- 2018-24-03
News reports located on this page = 2.

Merseyside PCC joins calls for Finn's Law

MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner has supported public calls for a new law aimed at protecting Police dogs and horses from being attacked or killed in the line of duty. Jane Kennedy's appeal comes ahead of a Second Reading in the House of Commons of the Service Animals (Offences) Bill, commonly known as:- 'Finn's Law' next month (April 2018). The Bill advocates the introduction of a new offence of attacking a service animal, including Police dogs, and broadening sentencing powers in situations where a service animal is injured as a result of crime.

The campaign for 'Finn's Law' was launched in the wake of the stabbing of Police dog Finn, in Hertfordshire, in 2016, while he was chasing a suspect. Finn suffered serious wounds to his head and chest while protecting his handler, who was also injured during the incident.

Currently people who attack a Police animal may be charged under the Criminal Damages Act 1971, which is primarily designed to deal with the destruction or damage of property, or under Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it a criminal offence to subject an animal to unnecessary suffering. However, the maximum punishment under that legislation is 6 months in prison.

The Commissioner has spoken out to highlight the inadequacy of existing legislation and has added her voice to calls for 'Finn's Law' to be enshrined in law. More than 127,000 people have already signed a petition urging for UK Police Dogs and Horses to be given protection that reflects their status.

Jane said:- "Existing legislation simply does not provide sufficient protection for our hard working Police dogs and horses, who perform a vital role in many aspects of modern day policing from community engagement and drug detection to the policing of public order incidents and during searches for missing people. We expect Police dogs and horses to go into potentially risky and dangerous situations every day to support their handlers and keep the public safe. Finn's Law argues that Police animals deserve better protection than property and I wholeheartedly support that argument. Police dogs and horses are not merely Police property; they are sentient beings who bravely and loyally serve the public. It is only right that they get the recognition and protection that they undeniably deserve."

In many other EU countries, as well as Australia, the USA and Canada, provision is already made in law to protect Police and service animals.

Sarah Dixon, co-director of Finns Law Ltd said:- "It is totally outrageous and unacceptable that we, as a developed Country that prides itself on its animal welfare standards, do not offer our Police animals any real, effective protection in law. The fact that their status as a Police animal effectively serves to exclude them from animal welfare legislation is distasteful to say the least. It is our duty and responsibility, as many other countries have done, to ensure that they are at least able to enjoy the same level of protection as a domestic animal. We are not asking for enhanced status. We are asking for parity."

You can now find out more about Finn's Law online.

St Helens Named as 1st Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture

THE Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has announced that St Helens will be its 1st Borough of Culture, as part of its new 1% for Culture programme. The honour coincides with St Helens celebrating its 150th Anniversary, in 2018 (This Year!).

Under the 1% for Culture Programme, Liverpool City Region has become the 1st in the Country to commit to spending the equivalent of 1% of its annual ₤30 million devolution funding from Government to support cultural activities.

These activities will include:-

►  ₤200k to support an annual Borough of Culture programme, with St Helens named as the 1st Borough of Culture. The title will be held on a rotating basis by all of the Combined Authority's constituent Local Authorities.

►  ₤30k allocated for the Liverpool City Region Cultural Awards. Additional funding will be acquired for the awards through developing sponsorship opportunities.

►  ₤70k allocated for the development and delivery of Region wide events (themed to celebrate and highlight the City Region)

Speaking about the announcement, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:- "It is particularly fitting that St Helens should become our 1st Borough of Culture this year, as they celebrate their 150th anniversary. I know they have a very exciting programme of cultural events planned for the year ahead. In my manifesto I talked about the value of culture to the success of the Liverpool City Region. I believe that culture and creativity are integral to our international profile and brand and integral to achieving the vision for a prosperous, fair and exciting place to live, work and invest. The Borough of Culture celebrations are just 1 element of boosting culture and creativity across the whole of the City Region."

Cllr Barrie Grunewald, Leader of St Helens Council said:- "This is brilliant news and particularly appropriate that St Helens should be the 1st Borough of Culture in our 150th year. St Helens has a growing reputation as a centre of excellence for arts and culture with both the Heart of Glass and St Helens Libraries Cultural Hubs programmes in the Art Council Englands National Portfolio. Our programme of arts and cultural events for 2018 will strengthen this further as it reflects on the history and heritage of the Town, but also celebrates our innovation, ingenuity and culture."

Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, and Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Culture, said:- "Culture is an essential driver in stimulating creative entrepreneurialism and is also instrumental in generating substantial growth for local, regional and national economies. I am very proud that as a Combined Authority we have adopted a really ambitious strategy for growing the culture and creative sector across the Liverpool City Region. The Borough of Culture programme, backed with funding of ₤200,000 per year from the Combined Authority, is a key part of the strategy, and I am sure that St Helens will get us off to a flying start."

Events planned for St Helens year as Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture include:-

Westfield Music Festival, on Sunday, 3 June 2018.

St Helens Day Citizen's Parade, on Saturday, 30 June 2018.

International Food and Drink Festival, on Friday, 6 July and Saturday, 7 July 2018.

In the Street Festival, on 11 August 2018.

The 1% for Culture programme is 1 strand of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's Culture and Creativity Strategy.

Developed following extensive consultation across the City Region's 6 boroughs, the Strategy outlines 3 key aims:-

►  Expanding and promoting the existing cultural and creative offer as a core part of a growing visitor economy alongside more targeted creative social intervention.

►  Developing a supply chain for talent and harnessing the region's strengths as a 'pool of talent' with pathways into the creative sectors.

►  Sustaining and enhancing economic growth through culture and creativity; recognising and investing in culture and creativity as major drivers in the visitor economy and creative industries, and as catalysts to achieve positive outcomes in:- wellbeing, health, education, cohesion and the future world of work.

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