Another workshop on raptor satellite tagging for police wildlife crime officers

On the day we learned that yet another satellite-tagged hen harrier has ‘disappeared’ in suspicious circumstances (the 12th since last summer), this forthcoming training workshop for police wildlife crime officers can’t come soon enough.

Following on from the success of a raptor satellite tag training workshop in Scotland earlier this month (see here), a similar workshop has now been announced for law enforcement officers in England and Wales.

Spearheaded by Police Supt Nick Lyall, Chair of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG), this will be another genuine partnership opportunity to share expertise and understanding.

As we saw at the Scottish workshop, it’s crucial that wildlife crime investigators understand the capabilities and constraints of satellite tag data – what they can and can’t tell us about a bird’s movements, and critically, how to identify evidence from the data to differentiate between a suspected crime against the tagged bird and a genuine technical malfunction of the tag. This understanding can help speed up investigations and help ensure resources can be targeted at the right location as a priority.

From a researcher’s perspective it’s also important that we have reassurances from the police about how our tag data will be handled and kept secure as part of the police’s investigative process. Police officers may not previously have considered this but given the sensitivity of the data (e.g. known nest and roost sites of highly threatened species) the police need to be aware of the researchers’ expectations of confidentiality. For this to work there has to be trust, and a workshop like this provides an excellent opportunity to continue to build that trust.

Well done to Nick Lyall for his leadership and to all the partners involved – this is a fantastic initiative.

2 thoughts on “Another workshop on raptor satellite tagging for police wildlife crime officers”

  1. What are the chances of folks like me being able to get on one of these workshops OR being able to arrange something similar for us workers in the field who are often the frontline? ??

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