West Mercia Police strengthens wildlife crime team
Written by BBC News on March 25, 2019
West Mercia Police is to strengthen the number of regular officers with specialist training that allows them to provide guidance and support around investigating wildlife offences.
Funding for 17 additional Wildlife Crime Officers is to be made available for training to increase the total number of wildlife officers in West Mercia to 30.
Wildlife crime describes offences that often involve cruelty and the unlawful killing of wild mammals and birds and the destruction of plant life. This can include crimes such as: hare coursing; deer poaching; hunting with dogs; and badger persecution. It can also include the buying or selling of endangered species from around the world – such as ivory.
However, this crime doesn’t just affect wildlife, perpetrators can often be involved in other associated crimes such as anti-social behaviour, theft, criminal damage and, in some case, wildlife crime has shown to be a financial avenue for supporting criminal gangs.
Under new funding arrangements, Officers have also been provided with forensic kits, which allows the officers to gather evidence there and then without relying on another team to come out to the crime scene.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “These additional wildlife officers are an excellent step forward in giving communities reassurance that we are listening to their concerns. By giving police officers this specialist training, to investigate these crimes, will help in reducing the number of people and animals being affected.”
Superintendent Sue Thomas said: “It’s great to have a number of officers trained in wildlife matters who can then support and advise the wider workforce to ensure that we are able to respond to wildlife matters in an appropriate way. The training is essential to raise awareness and give officers the confidence to address and investigate wildlife crimes.”
The enforcement of wildlife crime often involves and requires partnership with other agencies outside the police, including governmental and non-governmental bodies.
If you suspect that a wildlife crime has been committed call 101. You can give information regarding a crime anonymously, by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.