FOUR-legged friends who help track down criminals are being given extra protection from tomorrow.

Finn's Law, inspired by a Britain's Got Talent act, closes a loophole which has seen service dogs and horses treated as force property - and as a result, helping the criminals who hurt them dodge serious charges.

Previously, criminals had received light sentences, but Finn’s Law means on-duty police animals will have specific legal protection.

The move has been welcomed by police and crime commissioner Peter McCall.

Mr McCall said: “I’m delighted to hear that Finn’s Law will be introduced this weekend.

“As well as providing much-needed protection against these wonderful creatures, it will send offenders a strong message that injuring these hardworking dogs and horses will not be tolerated.

“As well as protection, it shows more compassion to these animals, which are more than just an asset for our officers.

“These animals are our officers buddies while ‘on the beat’.”

The legislation’s introduction was inspired by hero and ex-service German shepherd Finn, who was viciously stabbed by a youth in Stevenage in 2016.

Finn and PC David Wardell were finalists in this year's Britain’s got Talent on Sunday.

PC Wardell, who had worked with Finn through the Bedfordshire dog unit, started the campaign to bring in the law after the suspect only received four months in a detention centre along with a four-month community order for mutilating the service animal.

The law also quashes any argument that an offender acted in self-defence, which is often used as reason behind their actions harming police animals.

Mr McCall added: “The bonds created between our officers and the service animals are incredible.

“I remember during my early career, we weren’t able to find an offender in Kendal.

“A police dog unit came on the scene and found the perpetrator within 15 minutes.

"They’re an incredibly useful part of the team.

“As well as providing that extra back-up to our officers, dog units are used to detect bombs and narcotics, which would otherwise go undetected.”

Cumbria police dog inspector Kim Brennand said: “We welcome this law to make it a criminal offence to injure a police dog.

“Any offender that puts the lives of our police dogs in danger when in the line of duty will not be tolerated and we will work with the courts to bring them to justice.”

Finn was also in attendance for every stage of the bill’s process, including its third and final reading in the House of Lords.