24 May 2019
PC Wardell – whose eight year old German Shepherd Finn was stabbed with a 10-inch blade when intercepting a police suspect on the 15th October 2016 – campaigned tirelessly to push through legislation which makes it an offence to harm or abuse an animal in the line of duty. The Act coined Finn’s Law received Royal Assent on 8 April 2019, having completed all of its parliamentary stages. (Please click on this link to access a video of Finn barking outside the Houses of Parliament)
Finn and PC Wardell later went on to appear on Britain’s Got Talent – stunning judges and viewers with their live dog show/magic act originally rehearsed on the stage at Heathfield School, Ascot – leading independent secondary boarding and day school for girls. It was an emotional performance that even brought a tear to Simon Cowell’s eyes! The duo will find out if they qualified for the finals on the 25th May.
PC Wardell, Finn and colleague and former Police Officer Sebastian Ellis, returned to Heathfield this week to thank the school for the loan of their stage – used to practise their act and to help familiarise Finn with this type of environment.
At the presentation, Heathfield girls watched in awe a video of Dave and Finn’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent, learnt more about the knife incident and how Dave took on the government to change the law. Dave and Sebastian went on to discuss facing adversity, the importance of resilience and perseverance, careers in the police force and how to become a dog handler – a position for which Dave doggedly applied five times! Following a hugely interesting Q&A session, Dave, Sebastian and Finn wrapped up the afternoon with a scent tracking demonstration in which Seb ran off and hid, only to be tracked by Finn and taken down by the arm.
Commenting on the visit, PC Dave Wardell said, “It was lovely coming back to Heathfield – I so wanted to thank the girls. I really enjoyed sharing my story with a younger audience than that found at the Houses of Parliament! It was a pleasure too, to take questions on police dogs, my career and dealing with the government.”
Concluding, Marina Gardiner Legge, Headmistress, said, “Standing up to adversity, perseverance and resilience are important qualities we work to instil in our girls. PC Wardell had an extremely moving story to tell and we were delighted he, Sebastian and Finn were able to share it with us.”