Lou Hubble to leave National Wildlife Crime Unit

Chief Inspector Louise Hubble is leaving her role as Chair of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in November.

In a letter to colleagues last month, Lou wrote, ‘I am writing to notify you that my  two year secondment to the NWCU, which was extended by twelve months last year, concludes in November 2020.  Following discussions with Hampshire’s Chief Officer Group it has been decided that I will return to Hampshire in November 2020.  I do not know at this time which role I will be going in to but after 21 years as a Wildlife Crime Officer I hope to still be involved in the world of wildlife at some level.  I will certainly continue to enjoy my passion for wildlife in my spare time regardless of my policing role‘.

[Lou filming with Chris Packham in the raptor persecution hotspot of Strathbraan, Perthshire. Photo by Ruth Tingay]

It’s not clear whether she jumped or was pushed, but I reckon most of us will have our own view on that. If you work in wildlife crime enforcement in the UK and you’re seen to be doing a decent job, you can expect to be targeted by those who would rather you kept your mouth shut and who have the influence and connections to try and make sure you do.

Lou experienced this first hand (see here and here).

Lou’s departure is really disappointing news, not just for her personally – she is as passionate and focused about her role as anyone you’re likely to meet – but for those of us with long memories about some of the former heads of the NWCU, Lou’s departure signals not just a huge loss for wildlife crime enforcement, but also a weariness that her replacement, whoever that may be, will be starting from scratch, all over again.

There’s still a big question mark over the usefulness and effectiveness of the NWCU as a whole – undoubtedly the unit excels in some areas but is less effective in others and there are still some ‘personalities’ in there that make partnership-working a challenge, to say the least. But Lou wasn’t one of those. She was/is highly respected by those of us in the conservation community for her hard work and high standards.

If you’re reading this, Lou, thanks for your efforts.

14 thoughts on “Lou Hubble to leave National Wildlife Crime Unit”

  1. With the departure of Nick Lyall and now Lou Hubble from the fight against wildlife crime it is a case of no steps forward and 2 steps back.

    1. I am just trying to restrain my astonishment that she was not the natural successor to Nick Lyall unless of course the political agenda is to emasculate this unit ; in which case the question of the impartial administration of the law surely has to be questioned ? Why is she being moved at this juncture ?

  2. Sorely missed perhaps, but never heard of her or this unit, in 16 years of opposing Trailhunt criminals…….

  3. “I am just trying to restrain my astonishment that she was not the natural successor to Nick Lyall unless of course the political agenda is to emasculate this unit ; in which case the question of the impartial administration of the law surely has to be questioned ? Why is she being moved at this juncture ?”…………..Could the important question of continuity of leadership be raised with the Hampshire Police Commissioner and whether or not this Police Officer would prefer to remain in post ? What is going on here ?
    Any blog readers in Hampshire care to follow up?

  4. I am not surprised: the people with power shoot or rub shoulders with shooters (and hunters). They do not want effective policing: it saves their friends in the CPS from being put on the spot and their friends in the judiciary from having to find spurious reasons to throw out prosecutions.

  5. Having approached various government bodies about a wildlife crime issue and been roundly ignored, I contacted Nick Lyall and Lou Hubble who both expressed interest in my concerns and called in expert help.

    It seems to me that these two officers are committed to the cause of tackling wildlife crime and they have demonstrated their dedication to animal welfare by volunteering their spare time to various campaigns.

    Personally I think it is a tragedy for wildlife that these two officers are leaving their posts.

    I wish Lou Hubble all the best.

  6. The big surprise is that so far Dido Harding has not been parachuted in to head up a completely new organisation to replace the NWCU. She has all the credentials: a complete lack of knowledge or prior experience of the subject; a track record of (spectacular) failure elsewhere and unquestioned loyalty to the Tory party. She no doubt has excellent contacts in the world of shooting and would be ideally placed to indulge in some can-kicking ‘dialogue’.

    Sorry. I shouldn’t be cynical.

  7. How’s the funding for the NWCU at this time? The last reference I can locate was the four year funding package split between DEFRA and the Home Office, announced/implemented in 2016 (after months of speculation and concern about its future).

  8. There is a lot of unfair comment on here by people who don’t know the truth about Lou Hubble. I’ve been acquainted with Lou for years; I like her as a person but she has not enjoyed an effective secondment to the NWCU and eventually she lost the confidence of her own staff (who, I believe, made a collective formal complaint about her) and many partners – that’s why she is leaving. I’m sorry it ended this way but that’s the truth.

    Ruth, if you’re going to cast aspersions on “former Heads of the NWCU” you should have the courage to name names and say why, rather than impugn the character of every former Head. Martin Sims, for example, was an excellent Head of the NWCU and continues to work tirelessly for wildlife as Director of Investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports: were you referring to him? If not, you should say so.

    [Ed: Thanks, Steve. You’ll note that I wrote ‘….SOME of the former heads [of the NWCU]…’ so no, I’m certainly not ‘impugning the character of every former Head’ as you suggest. I have blogged at length about SOME of the former heads, and the issues that have arisen around their tenure, and have no intention of going back over it all years later but if you’re interested you can use the search box to find the commentary].

    1. Ruth, you chose to make the remark – I shouldn’t have to trawl through your blog to see if I can work out to whom you were referring! I note that you haven’t taken the opportunity to exclude Martin Sims from your criticism, which saddens me.

      [Ed: Steve, I’m fascinated by why you think it’s my job to respond to your inaccurate allegations. If you’re really that interested, I’ve explained how you can find the information (and it doesn’t require a long ‘trawl’, it’s just a simple search function). You’ve stuck the boot in on Lou, for reasons best known to you, and it’s clear we don’t share the same opinion. Let’s just leave it there, shall we?]

      1. Stuck the boot in? Inaccurate allegations? I thought you were an advocate for the truth! You chose to raise the issue of whether Lou jumped or was pushed and left it out there for the conspiracy theorists to seize upon: I clarified the position truthfully. Let’s just leave it there, shall we?

        [Ed: Blimey. And I thought it was just the hunting crowd that had the knives out for Lou – I didn’t expect the same from LACS as well. It’s no wonder her position was untenable. Thanks for the insight]

        1. You chose to blog about Lou’s departure and insinuated that people were out to get her moved out because she was good at her job, which is not what happened. Now you accuse me of sticking the boot in and making inaccurate allegations. Unless you can tell your readers what I have said that is inaccurate, I’d ask you to kindly withdraw that remark.

          [Ed: Steve, I’m not withdrawing any remark. You’ve come on here, apparently spoiling for a fight, to insist that Lou wasn’t good at her job and you claim this is the reason she’s leaving the NWCU. You call this the ‘truth’. It might be your truth but it certainly isn’t an accurate portrayal of my experience of Lou, nor that of others I’ve spoken to in the conservation field who have spent time working with her. And unless (a) Lou has confided in you (seems unlikely) or (b) you were privy to the discussions between Lou and Hampshire Constabulary about her future (also unlikely), you can’t possibly know the reason(s) behind her departure. What we do know is that Lou was the subject of a witch hunt, seemingly instigated by the Countryside Alliance and facilitated by the Daily Mail. To be honest I’m shocked that an employee of the League Against Cruel Sports would go out of his way to condemn her on here].

          1. I came on here only to correct your inaccurate reporting of Lou’s unfortunate departure from the NWCU and to protest at you impugning the character of former Heads of the same Unit. It’s your prerogative to express your views in your own blog, of course, but that doesn’t make you right. Neither does it give you the right to say I’m making inaccurate allegations when, in fact, I’m simply telling the truth.
            I’m the very last person in the world to defend the loathsome Countryside Alliance (we at least hold the same view about them) but it wasn’t the CA that posted that ill-judged rapper video and I’ve already told you who made the complaint about Lou to ACRO.
            My remarks are entirely my own and at no stage did I ever purport to represent the views of any organisation, which is why I provided my personal email address.

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