Police Supt Nick Lyall found guilty at misconduct tribunal

The name of Police Supt Nick Lyall should be familiar to readers of this blog. Nick, whose day job was Head of Operations at Bedfordshire Police, was also the latest incumbent tasked with chairing the poisoned chalice of the RPPDG (Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group) in England and Wales.

The RPPDG had been nothing more than a pantomime of so-called partnership, having achieved precisely nothing towards tackling illegal raptor persecution despite years and years of meetings (since 2009!), mainly because the group membership was dominated by representatives of the game-shooting industry who took every opportunity to frustrate any attempt to change the status quo. This wasn’t helped by a succession of weak Chairs who either didn’t have the interest or drive to bring about change. This ‘Priority Delivery Group’ was neither a priority nor a delivery group – it was simply a sham group the game-shooting industry, and Government, could point to to pretend they were addressing raptor crime.

Nick brought a change of pace and enthusiasm to the role and he was widely supported by the conservation community for his efforts and most importantly, for his willingness to be open and transparent with both sides (e.g. see here).

Nick achieved a massive amount in just over 12 months, much of it behind the scenes including some highly significant meetings with, let’s call them, ‘well known sporting agents’. There is no doubt whatsoever that the game shooting industry as a whole was feeling the heat, partly thanks to Nick’s efforts, and this was recognised last year when he received the WWF Wildlife Crime Operation of the Year Award for his vision of turning Operation Owl from a regional to a national awareness-raising campaign.

Earlier this year Nick was suspended by Bedfordshire Police pending an investigation in to claims he had lied about an alleged affair with a police colleague. At a tribunal last week he was found guilty of misconduct and another hearing is now scheduled to determine his future with the police.

This is a major blow for those of us interested in tackling the ongoing slaughter of birds of prey on the UK’s game-shooting estates, although judging by the disgraceful social media gloating being done by certain BASC staff members, not everyone shares our disappointment.

It’s highly unlikely Nick will have any further involvement in the RPPDG so another Chair will have to be appointed and the whole cycle starts again.

Watch this space.

And Nick, if you’re reading this, thank you for your hard work and commitment to tackling these appalling crimes.

30 thoughts on “Police Supt Nick Lyall found guilty at misconduct tribunal”

  1. All the people mired in sex scandals should be rounded up and put to work because they clearly were on the path to getting something done before the powers that be decided they needed to be removed.

    I disagree it was a major blow as this shows that the removal of the Police Supert. was always an option. By definition the RPPDG was always going to be a dead-end and used as an excuse for inaction. Now effort can be focussed on more productive approaches. Banning muir-burning for example has easily demonstrable results, is an issue that’s pretty clear cut and is pretty hard to corrupt. Anything that involves “talking” is now a waste of time as it can always be subverted.

    An outright ban of grouse shooting is the only sensible course of action. Anything else is just pandering and prevaricating. RSPB are you listening?

    1. Bang on Stuart. It’s time for those of us in the ‘NO! to DGS licensing movement’ (for want of a better description) to make a loud effing noise – and keep on making a loud effing noise – about the nonsense that is the RSPB’s (and others) position on calling for DGS licensing. If you think the RPPDG was a sham just consider for a moment how a DGS licensing would pan out. It would be the sham of shams and a very costly sham at that, and would boot any chance of a DGS ban into the long heather for decades.

  2. This is very unfortunate and if everyone was dismissed from a job for affairs ( not condoning them) would be a lot of empty spaces – and in (France) seems to be a separate issue to one’s ability to do a job well ! ( look at James Bond! ) Seems to me a very sad loss for the wildlife that’s now losing a strong fighter for their right to survive . I don’t think it’s a matter for any gloating from the real criminals who poison,trap and shoot for profit and enjoyment!

  3. Sorry that you got yourself into this mess, Nick; but even more sorry for the birds who will almost certainly lose the best advocate they have had for some time.

  4. I have for some considerable time thought that in the end All driven shooting in the UK should be consigned to history. However that was and is not going to be achieved overnight even with bans on muirburn it will continue. Before Nick Lyall RPPDG was a joke, sad reflection of all that had gone before of “talks” between real conservationists and the “game lobby.” Nick started to change that with much resistance from those same folk for game shooting, trying to make the process real meaningful and eventually effective. No easy task with the bluster, phili-bustering and friends in high places of the dark side, perhaps they have helped to contribute to his downfall, who knows certainly won’t tell us. Whatever is and has been going on in the wider world of Nick’s life for raptors and raptor workers he was making a difference a big difference and for that we all owe Nick huge thanks. That difference needs to continue if we are ever to succeed in making the wildlife crime, bad practice lousy land management and its complicit apologists that are rife throughout game shooting a thing of the past. Thanks Nick you were a breathe of fresh air.

  5. In principle, I am not in the least troubled by employees in the same business having consensual affairs. I fact it is better that it is overt than clandestine.

    However, when an employer has rules that prohibit such behaviour then it should never happen.
    Furthermore, when the employer is the police force (who can often be ultra strict) it is a serious lack of judgement on any officer’s part to disregard the rules.
    The poor judgement in having the affair was bad enough, but to exacerbate that failing by using a police phone to communicate is apathetic. Nick should have known better.

    We will never know how the beans were spilt. No doubt many people will have thoughts and suspicions. Enemies in high (and low) places would not be a surprise.
    Nick would know that there are people who were certain to be “unhappy” with his activities. That being so he should have been more carefull ……………. a LOT more careful.

    1. “Nick would know that there are people who were certain to be “unhappy” with his activities.” …….. Just to be clear. I am referring to Nick’s anti wildlife crime activities (that we all wholeheartedly support).

  6. Like, I am sure, many others who follow this blog Nick Lyall was a breath of fresh air and a source of rare optimism. His enthusiasm for, application and dedication to his role were remarkable. Accordingly, I am very saddened by this turn of events. I thank him for his past efforts and wish him well in the future.

  7. A foolish mistake which has lost society another staunch supporter of law enforcement in relation to raptor crime. Ironic that many of the people now crowing about his downfall seem to be keen supporters of a man who has apparently been dismissed from jobs in the past for lying and has had multiple affairs. I wonder who will be next.

  8. Thank you Nick for your dedication to tackling wildlife crime and the steps you took to strengthen the training and level of support for wildlife crime officers. You helped create a very welcome sense of hope.

  9. It happens, whether you’re a Prime Minister, a Preseident or a gamekeeper for Lady Chatterly.

    Thanks for your hard work and dedication to duty Nick. The best of fortune to you for the future.

  10. It appears that once again I find myself swimming against the tide of orthodox opinion. By that I mean that so many of you have accepted that Nick did have an affair and are beginning to blame him for bad judgerment.
    Now, this might well not be the opinion of those who run this blog, but I, personally, am aware that the police heirarchy has not always behaved in the expected manner when it comes to crimes perceived to be AGAINST the shooting community’s interests. In addition I have always viewed parts of them, (the police) but not them all, as incorrigably corrupt.
    Given the huge impact Nick Lyll had on the Shooting Lobby it is my opinion that they would have moved heaven and earth to have him removed for that position. If the Shooting Lobby is that powerful that they could make a farce of the Driven Grouse moor debate in Parliament it would be quite a simple thing to have him removed from Office by a means of their choice. If he is disgraced in the process, so much the better, as it gives their trolls plenty of ammunition to use in the public arena which Bert and his Bully Boys will enjoy immensely.
    This leaves me in the position that until Nick comes out and admits having an affair then I am more than happy to remain unconvinced that he did. It would be very interesting to know the details as i admit to being highly suspicious.
    Removing an officer from an investigation has two effects.
    1) It stops the policy\strategy in it’s tracks
    2) it gives out an unmistakeble message to anyone else who might be thinking of applying for the job and following a similar line.
    All this is happening at a time when I observe another tactic coming into play by the DGM lobby … but more of that on another day.

    1. Having just listened to the audiobook ‘Snared’ by Bob Berzins (only a fiver and the money goes to a great charity – check his website). I agree George, I would not be at all surprised if there was some dark forces working in the background of this sad debacle.

    2. Oh what a tangled web !
      IF (repeat IF) Nick bore false witness during the investigation I do not see how he can remain in the police force.
      On the other hand, if others bore false witness and brought about Nick’s downfall I don’t see how Nick can sing dumb.
      Interesting that Nick’s suspension results from an “investigation in to claims he had lied about an alleged affair with a police colleague”. Does that infer that had he admitted to the affair he would have not been suspended.
      One of those situations that have a lingering bad smell.

  11. A real shame that Nick Lyall won’t be working alongside RPUK in the future.
    It will be a hard task replacing him with someone as committed and well respected.
    Thank you Nick for all your dedicated work

  12. All is not lost. Nick set the track of the RPPDG heading in a very positive direction. The momentum gained will not be lost – particularly if a like-minded successor can be found.

    Thanks, Nick, for what you have done and I hope that your services will not be totally lost to the raptor persecution cause – assuming that the tribunal’s next decision effectively robs you of your much-valued chairmanship of this group.

  13. A very sad day, very sad for Nick Lyall and for persecuted raptors. Here’s wishing NL all the very best for the future.

    Some interesting comments above and one ponders if the truth will ever come out about the reality or otherwise of forces working to discredit etc.

      1. Or even a job with Natural England just to show their good intent .
        I do wonder if revealing the purposes of an internal police enquiry into a minor breach of police regulations , to the public before the outcome is detemined , isn’t in itself a breach of police regulations .
        NYMoors can do with someone like you Nick .

  14. From what I have read about Nick Lyall on RPUK he seems to have made a big difference in a relatively short time. Obviously his fate is yet to be decided, but his position as a Police Officer must be in doubt. Irrespective of his achievements, he has been found guilty of gross misconduct following a protracted hearing, whatever the background to the allegations, we must have faith that he had a fair hearing. I don’t believe he has been found guilty of having an affair, he has been found guilty of dishonesty, which is something the Police Service cannot tolerate. It is a shame and totally avoidable, but as a high ranking officer he must have known the position he put himself in. Hopefully whoever replaces Nick will continue the good work.

  15. I am somewhat intrigued as to how the accusations against Nick followed from a report made to Crimestoppers.
    Reports to Crimestoppers are normally about crime. We have not heard anything that suggests there was any crime.

    It has always been my understanding that Crimestoppers do not get involved in matters that are non criminal.

    Things get curiouser and curiouser.

    1. Hi Dougie, the newspaper report referred to Crimestoppers, but this may be an error. Most, if not all Police Forces have a confidential hotline so officers can report wrongdoing by colleagues to the Professional Standards Department. I don’t know for sure, but zithink the news report may have referred to this as Crimestoppers, the principal is the same. Obviously we will never the full background or what motivated the person that reported Nick.

  16. What a gloomy bit of news. It hits in a similar manner to the loss of another raptor. Big thanks to Nick for the work which he did and the quantum leap forward which he made for the RPPDG. I feel pessimistic that whoever follows will be able to continue that progress set against the influence of the dark forces. Thanks Nick for you huge effort, enthusiasm and leadership they seem rare qualities today.

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