Seriously? Supt Nick Lyall’s integrity challenged by pro-game shooting groups!

This is quite spectacular.

Further to yesterday’s blog (here) where it was revealed the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation had formally resigned from the DEFRA group established to tackle illegal raptor persecution (the RPPDG – Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group), there’s a piece in today’s edition of The Times explaining the gamekeepers’ decision, and also explaining why some of the other game-shooting organisations had boycotted last Wednesday’s RPPDG meeting. It has to be read to be believed:

Let’s start with the resignation of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation first. It says it resigned from the RPPDG because it has “lost faith in the integrity” of the new Chair, Police Supt Nick Lyall.

Oh god, the irony.

And what had Nick Lyall done to earn such a slur?

Had he ignored the NGO? Nope.

Had he excluded them from RPPDG planning discussions? Nope.

Had he dismissed the NGO’s ideas without a second thought? Nope.

Had he slagged off the NGO in public? Nope.

It turns out Nick’s integrity was apparently compromised (according to the gamekeepers) when he invited representatives from the Wildlife Trusts, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and Birders Against Wildlife Crime to join the RPPDG! Seriously, that’s it!

And what of the Moorland Association, BASC and the Countryside Alliance (and apparently the Country Land and Business Association)? Why did these pro-game shooting groups boycott last week’s RPPDG meeting? According to this article they complained that the RPPDG “favoured anti-shooting groups”. That’s bloody hilarious. The RPPDG has been top heavy with pro-game shooting representatives ever since the group started (hence no progress on tackling wildlife crime after all these years) but now that a few conservation organisations have been invited to the table to join the discussions, the shooting groups feel it’s all a bit unfair and unbalanced? You couldn’t make this up.

Oh, and they’re also a bit upset (“betrayed”?!) because our research revealed that the Moorland Association had been asking about licences to kill Marsh harriers at a previous RPPDG meeting, even though the majority of RPPDG attendees ‘couldn’t remember’ this discussion (see here).

The quotes at the end of the article are indicative of just how easily these organisations can churn out meaningless soundbites. BASC says it is “committed to constructive dialogue with all sides…..” and Amanda Anderson of the Moorland Association says she was ‘committed to tackling the issue’.

Er, how does that work if you’ve boycotted a meeting where discussions took place on how to tackle illegal raptor persecution?

Nick Lyall’s quote reveals his integrity is fully intact. “I am a new chair, with new and fresh ideas that require the involvement of all members of the group, new and old, to pull together to deliver”.

We’re looking forward to finding out what happens at the next RPPDG meeting, scheduled for April. As we said yesterday, this will be a real test of Nick’s leadership skills. If those raptor-hating groups are still boycotting the RPPDG on such spurious grounds and are still intent on disrupting the progress of the RPPDG, they need to be booted off with immediate effect, no more messing about.

UPDATE 21 January 2019: Back-pedalling BASC? (here)

UPDATE 21 January 2019: National Gamekeepers’ Organisation resignation letter in full (here)

20 thoughts on “Seriously? Supt Nick Lyall’s integrity challenged by pro-game shooting groups!”

  1. Truly, amazingly unbelievable! Pathetic spoilt toddlers. Mind I bet they toddle along to future meetings, ‘cos they won’t want to miss out on hearing what’s coming next.

  2. Perhaps its time to commission military resolution surveillance for the moors. It would probably be excellent training for military intelligence to stamp out raptor persecution.

  3. Really pathetic, fully expected. Hopefully it’s the NGO’s reputation (such as it is) not Nick’s that gets damaged by this, no doubt there’ll be those out to malign him for not being their lackey. Any idea please who’s best to contact in the police force to commend Nick for his diligence, fairness and express our anger/frustration/disgust at how he’s been treated by the usual suspects?

  4. Toys out of the pram. They can see somebody that actually wants to get things done and of course don’t like it. If you are not part of the solution you are all or part of the problem.

  5. Reveals the real intentions of these groups.

    Muddy and dilute the true scale of how much raptor and wildlife crime is occurring on managed grouse moors.

    When one single police officer attempts to bring in measures that will bring increased intelligence and reduce crime they respond by leaving.

    Keep up the good work Nick things are only going to get a lot dirtier. I hope you are able to deal with the external and internal pressure from above the will inevitably follow.

  6. There are a lot of powerful, influential landowners behind these groups, watch out Nick Lyall they WILL be out to get you.

  7. Para 6 in the article mentions ‘leaked minutes’. Were these the ones obtained by RP by repeated FOI requests?

    It’s interesting that The Times, in its preable, has a reminder of the tipping of dead pheasants.

  8. Over a relatively short period this has gone, for some members, from an easily managed situation, where subtle influences were exerted to basically maintain a status quo, in effect, preventing the group being able do what it was meant to do. It also provided a platform where certain members and individuals carried, or at least appeared to carry, a degree of credibility through being a member organisation. However this works out, the MA, BASC and CA will have to decide whether they want to be part of the process. It is possible that the NGO has removed itself simply because being there would have been counter productive for them and the pro-shooting members. It could be though, that there’s been a stark recognition at the top, environmentally, that there has to be a change in direction in order to deliver success. The other members might just have to troop back accepting that they’ll no longer carry the influence they once had – but fighting “their corner” nevertheless. That doesn’t get away from the fact that gamekeepers will probably continue to do as they’ve always done – but perhaps at their own risk – knowing they might no longer be protected from prosecution as they once were.

    1. ‘The other members might just have to troop back accepting that they’ll no longer carry the influence they once had.’

      Interesting point. It appears to me that they think their boycott with the hidden threat that they will pull out altogether or perhaps use a continuing boycott as a PR campaign, is a stick (i call it *****-****) but at its mildest they seem to think that it some kind of lever or bargaining chip.
      But is it? Do they need the RPPGD more than it needs them?
      ‘Needs’ from the ‘police/government needs to be seen to be doing something prospective’. Obviously we need them like we need ebola.
      It really comes down to whether they think they can disrupt the process of eliminating raptor crime more from being in or out of the ‘new’ RPPGD.
      They could be silent because they are just testing the water, to see how Lyall responds to the threat.
      The silence from Gilruth and co. is very out of character. Something for sure is going on.

      1. I don’t think any of them are in a bargaining position – they’ve only ever just owned, managed or shot the estates where the problems were, more likely, occurring. What they will worry about is that RPPGD really will show a big turnaround in terms of HH successes without them. It might be this is meant to be seen as a temporary support for the NGO when in actual fact having the NGO there with the other pro-shooting members isn’t beneficial if the others really did want to, or are being pressured to, make changes. Whether they “troop back” or not, would be their decision. Either way they will still to be lobbying political support where they can – it just might not be forthcoming.

        1. Surely they have some leverage, isn’t it just a matter of how much?
          Since the government is playing smoke and mirror tactics (Brood Meddling, Lowland Introduction and RPPDG), but doing nothing directly to stop wildlife crime, those smokescreens have to be seen to be working. If the RPPDG collapses because of the withdrawal of the shooting lobby and then if also Mark succeeds in stopping brood ‘management’ and the lowland introduction scheme can’t find a donor country stupid enough comply, all of which are possible, then the government has nothing to fall back on. They will have to start actually doing something real to combat raptor crime, or at least they would in any functioning government. The last thing they want is the collapse of the RPPDG no matter how inefficient it was or is.
          I am worried that the grousers have a huge bargaining position not only in threatening to crash the talks which the government desperately needs in order to pretend that they are doing something but also in the form of the power lobby they have behind them. We saw in the westminster debate how real that power is and how disdainfully and contemptuously Theresa Coffey treats anyone who threatens that power.
          Just look at how she treats MPs who date to ask intelligent questions.

  9. Betrayed by whom?
    What do they actually mean? Do journalists never ask questions anymore?
    Otherwise a pretty good article from The Times, apart for the ‘rogue gamekeepers’.

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