Derbyshire police respond to criticism over poisoned buzzard investigation

In early February we blogged about an illegally poisoned buzzard that had been found dead in the Peak District National Park, next to an illegal poisoned bait (see here). The focus of the blog was the long delay from discovery (April 2019) to publicity (Jan 2020) and even then the publicity had come from the RSPB, not from the police.

[The illegally poisoned buzzard. Photo by Peak District Raptor Monitoring Group]

We then wrote a follow-up blog last week (here) after Derbyshire Constabulary had claimed, with straight faces, that the discovery of the poisoned buzzard next to the poisoned bait was ‘inconclusive’, even though the official toxicology examination had concluded that,

The evidence therefore suggests that the Buzzard died as the result of the deliberate and illegal use of a high concentration of chloralose on a partridge bait, rather than through secondary poisoning from a different legally applied source…..”.

Derbyshire Constabulary came in for some well-earned criticism and have now responded with the following post on Facebook:

First the good points. This post is more conciliatory and far less antagonistic than recent posts on Derbyshire’s Rural Crime Team’s Facebook page. That’s a smart move. It’s also helpful to explain to the public the high workload demands, the large geographic area and the small size of the team. Like most police forces, they’re up against budget cuts and lack of resources. It’s good for the public to be reminded of these things to help manage expectations.

It’s also good to hear that the new civilian coordinator has been invited to join the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group (RPPDG) and that he’s working with partner agencies, including the RSPB’s Investigations Team, to develop a standard operating procedure investigation guide. Although it’s hard to believe that such an SOP doesn’t already exist, especially in a county that has such a long running history of bird of prey persecution in association with driven grouse shooting.

However, this ‘update’ from the Rural Crime Team doesn’t address the initial issue at all – that is, what appears to be a fundamental cock-up in to the investigation of a dead poisoned buzzard that was found next to a poisoned bait. There’s no acknowledgement that there has been a cock-up, certainly no apology, and no indication that anything further will be done.

Police Supt Nick Lyall, who Chairs the national Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group has been made aware of this case and he’s looking in to it:



10 thoughts on “Derbyshire police respond to criticism over poisoned buzzard investigation”

  1. Since the police now admit that only around a third of reported crimes are ever investigated, due to shortages of staff and funding, presumably that applies here also. It’s just a shame that when a request that the ‘eyes and ears’ of the public are requested to aid detection, ignoring reports and substantive evidence is hardly going to encourage the public….if only as much effort went into this terrible persecution as does policing hurty words on’t internet. There always seems to be plenty of personnel to go round ‘offenders’ homes to advise people to check their thinking.

  2. Another good thing is that they have responded to pressure. I don’t know how many complained via various channels, but it shows how even small bits of activism can make a difference. There’s a lot of handwringing sometimes on the BDGS page, ‘the police are all corrupt’ etc but this shows that 5 minutes doing something beyond venting on SM can start to make a difference, however slight.

  3. I am always astonished at how easily the police find staff to harass hunt monitors / sabs and protect illegal hunting activities but are so strapped for staff when it comes to investigating crimes against birds of prey. I wonder if there could be a link between the provenance of the perpetrators of both types of crime?

    1. Steady on Simon, you’ll have a succession of dead things hung on your gate if you keep making accusations like that.

  4. I think Derbyshire police have already decided which side they on. If my area in East Anglia is anything to go by their last concern is the safety and welfare of the local wildlife. The local rural crime unit is out in force to protect the local hunts from so called hunt saboteurs; supporting the car entourage to make sure they are not disturbed in their rural pursuits. I wonder what percentage of time the Derbyshire rural crime unit devote to each activity? Perhaps if they spend less time reacting to the spurious ‘needs’ of farmers and hunters and more about their precious wildlife the better.

  5. In other words why don’t you bunny hugging townies just stop creating a fuss. We are a local police force for local people we’ll have none of that here.

  6. Good to see that a civilian co-ordinator has been appointed, so potentially enabling someone with a wealth of relevant background and experience to be appointed.

    1. I doubt that very much – without seeing an advert for the job or a job description it sounds a chair polishing job. Probably a pay and rations job just.

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