Meet the new Chair of the PAW Raptor Group: Police Supt Nick Lyall

The Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG, also known as the PAW Raptor Group, England & Wales) has a new Chair – Police Supt Nick Lyall.

He’s off to a good start – he’s set up a blog, in the spirit of openness, to discuss the workings of this group and to report on any progress it might make under his tenure. In the seven years this so-called partnership has been running, he’s the first to attempt to bring any semblance of transparency to proceedings and we applaud him for that.

Read Nick’s first blog here

Although Nick is new to the world of raptor persecution, he’s no fool. We’ve been talking with him over the last few weeks and he gets it. We’re not sure he gets just how difficult a role he’s taken on, but he clearly understands that the ‘partnership’ hasn’t been working and he’s determined to turn things around.

[Meeting with RSPB Investigations Team]

Quite how he’ll manage that remains to be seen. Here is a disparate group with wholly opposing objectives. A few want to increase enforcement measures to ensure the legislation works to protect birds of prey from illegal persecution, whilst the majority want to legalise persecution by getting licences to kill birds of prey just so more game birds are available to be shot for fun.

However, he’s got some good ideas. Central to that will be his proposed Action Delivery Plan – we don’t yet know the details of that but fully expect he’ll share it when its ready. It’s got to be an improvement on the current work plan, which seems to consist of the game-shooting reps doing everything they can to challenge and obfuscate the annual raptor crime figures to downplay the extent of the widespread criminality directly linked to driven grouse moors and some pheasant/partridge shoots.

He’s been meeting with some of the key players this week and we note with an eye roll his comments about today’s meeting with the Moorland Association and his reference to “rogue gamekeepers”. He still has much to learn.

[Meeting with Moorland Association]

But let’s give this guy a chance. His openness and willingness to listen is refreshing. Do we think the ‘partnership’ can be effective? No, to be frank, at least not in its current format. But let’s see what happens when the usual suspects try to block progress, as inevitably they will, and Nick has the opportunity to experience that first hand. From our conversations, it sounds like he won’t be tolerating any more disruption.

Incidentally, for regular blog readers – remember last year when we reported that Amanda Anderson (Moorland Association) had raised questions at an RPPDG meeting about grouse moor owners wanting licences to kill marsh harriers (see here, here and here), a claim Amanda denied? It’s taken us a while, and many FoI requests, but we’ll be blogging more about that conversation that ‘never happened’ (ahem) next week…..

17 thoughts on “Meet the new Chair of the PAW Raptor Group: Police Supt Nick Lyall”

  1. This whole circus relies on a turnover of staff, because without that inconsistency the whole facade fails. When push comes to shove all of the shooting NGO’s rely upon the funding that comes from those who employ the wildlife criminals. If the shooting NGO’s don’t do exactly as required then the funding stops, I wonder how much the Whernside Estate pay in the Moorland Association for example, could that be why the estate are still members despite the recent conviction of the gamekeeper Tim Cowin?

    Look at other examples of this type of talking shop see the Lead Ammunition Group And the Peak District Raptor Disaster to name two.

    Sorry I have little confidence that in these NGO’s, they are self serving, their role appears to only involve propaganda and persuasion.

    Trust, that is what is missing and it must be earned, until we see serious commitment, where the shooting NGO’s can openly admit that there is a major problem with raptor persecution within its membership, and for these NGO’s to be the ones calling the criminals out, rather than the obfuscation we have seen to date, then I am afraid I see no reason to believe that anything is going to change.

  2. Any person or organisation wanting licences to shoot marsh harriers should never be tolerated on any working group or partnership involving wildlife ever again. That just shows the extremeist views of these pathetic bloodsports fanatics

  3. Rogue gamekeepers! dear, dear, he does have a lot to learn but sounds as if he will soon enough. First thing to learn is that there are no “few rogues” one only has to look at the distribution of successful Peregrine sites on grouse moors, successful Hen Harrier sites on grouse moors, coupled with the distribution of tags that have suddenly stopped working and the distribution of wildlife crime to know those few rogues are the bloody majority, certainly in grouse shooting and it seems in my experience rare to find it not happening in pheasants and partridge shoots too. Lets hope he makes a difference.

  4. I have added his blog to my favourites list and will keep an eye on it As always, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

  5. So what do we know about his social connections, his hobbies, and politics? Until we know that, it’ll just be a case of meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    1. Yes, the way things are these days it is useful, if not vital, to know everything about people in positions of influence.

  6. He might have learnt a thing or two at today’s excellent Walk for Wildlife. Think he needs to read ‘Inglorious’.
    Well, that and this excellent blog!

  7. Funny (peculiar) that’s he’s dressed in work attire to meet with RSPB investigations and dressed in casuals to meet with the Moorland Association… perhaps a minor point; but for some reason this does not instil me with any confidence in this new appointment…

  8. Police and NWCU are completely ineffectual in having any measured effect on domestic wildlife crime particularly the grubby goings on associated with the commercial game bird shooting industry.

    And that’s exactly how the Moorland Association wants to keep it.

    As for the ” few bad apples” this is utter nonsense and exactly what the industry would try and have us believe. Truth is it’s serious and organised criminality on an industrial scale. A few bad apples cannot impact on entire populations.

    Love the photograph all looks very awkward.

  9. I’ve just read a piece authorised by him on Raptor Politics. I’m anazed, to tell the truth. There is some hope. We need more people like this, after a few years of poor results.
    I wonder if he’ll sign my petition? Perhaps that’s too much to hope for.

  10. I’m trying to remember that last time the police helped to sincerely promote or aid a conservationist issue in opposition to our political and monied classes… or any issue which they classes opposed. Generally speaking they simply infiltrate opposing organisations, try to dilute the agenda and usually end up creating factionalism thus weakening the opposition . The Countryside Alliance, Moorland Associations and allied forces have been trying to lure conservationists into joint projects in regards to raptors and have failed miserably thus reducing both their ammunition and their effectiveness. The Greens will testify to the fact that they sleep with the opposition to further their cause. Is this the next move? Time will tell.
    We need more legislation, which will, in time, lead to a Government which will demand that it is effectively enforced.

  11. The police are taking the middle ground on raptor crime believing that they cannot take sides. This view is formed out of ignorance and politics.
    Of course they can and should take sides.
    Killing wildlife is a crime and police should play their part in enforcing the law without being influenced by politics.

    Because this won’t happen other organisations should have a role.
    RSPCA in England and SSPCA in Scotland.

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