New education for the police on animal welfare offenses – Police University College wins Animal Welfare award of the year
Towards the end of the year, Police University College will organize, for the first time, a national continuing education course on investigation of animal welfare offenses. More than 30 police officers from all parts of Finland will attend the course alongside criminal investigators from the Border Guard and special prosecutors and district court judges from the National Prosecution Authority.
The course on investigation of offenses that target animals will address a topical subject: animal welfare legislation is due for a reform as the new Animal Welfare Act will enter into force on 1 January 2024.
“We will provide course participants with up-to-date information on animal welfare legislation and on the impacts of the new Animal Welfare Act on the operations of the police. During the course, practical cases will be reviewed and participants will learn how to apply theoretical knowledge to the investigation of animal welfare offenses in everyday police work. Police assignments may relate to animal welfare offenses, nature conservation offenses, hunting and fishing offenses and animal transportation offenses,” say Senior Lecturer Satu Rantaeskola of the Police University College and Detective Superintendent Harri-Pekka Pohjolainen from Eastern Finland Police Department, in charge of the course.
“In addition to the legal amendment, observations received from various parties on that police competence requires development in the field of animal welfare and investigation of animal welfare offenses, are the reasons for organizing this course. The course to be provided now is based on the pilot course organized by Eastern Finland police last year, which was highly successful and received good feedback. SEY Animal Welfare Finland organization has also helped us with the planning of the national course,” says Joni Tonteri, Head of Education, the Police University College.
Award for development of animal welfare education
The Police University College received SEY Animal Welfare Finland’s Animal Welfare award of the year for developing the education on investigation of animal welfare offenses. Award winner was announced on World Animal Day, 4 October 2023.
The Animal Welfare award of the year is granted to a person or organization whose actions have revealed shortcomings in the conditions of animals or significantly promoted animal welfare. In the justification for the award, it is stated that the Police University College has made corrections after SEY’s survey proved that animal welfare competence in the police was insufficient.
“SEY considers the police administration’s response to be an outstanding example of how public authorities can modify their operations promptly and thoroughly when necessary. I extend my warmest thanks to the Police University College for the thorough, well-planned correction. Implementation of the Animal Welfare Act has been known to be deficient for a long time. By improving animal welfare competence within the police, one essential deficiency is put right,” says veterinarian Kati White, Executive Director at SEY.