National Wildlife Crime Unit – new head appointed

Press release from National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), 18th January 2021

New lead for National Wildlife Crime Unit

Today marks the arrival of a new head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Chief Inspector Kevin Kelly.

Chief Inspector Kelly joins the national unit from his home force North Yorkshire Police. Ch Insp Kelly, who currently chairs the UK Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group, has been a prominent figure in the wildlife crime arena for a number of years, seeing him become a highly decorated enforcer.

[In 2019, North Yorkshire Police Inspector Kevin Kelly was presented with a Special Recognition accolade at the Daily Mirror Animal Hero Awards for his dedication to tackling wildlife crime]

The NWCU is an intelligence and investigative support function that oversees and helps police forces implement the UK wildlife crime strategy set by the NPCC. The NWCU oversees the running and support of the Priority Delivery Groups for wildlife crime and works closely with advisory bodies and government agencies to support enforcement.

Chief Inspector Kelly says “I’m delighted, but there’s no time for complacency as this is going to be a tough role. I have spent all my service working in the fight against wildlife crime and to take this national role is a privilege. Today is a good day for our animals who are harmed or exploited and a bad day for criminals. I intend to lead this unit from the front, being visible on the ground and supporting colleagues with enforcement across the UK. Many people who abuse and exploit animals will abuse and exploit people, and I want to continue to show that when we effectively enforce wildlife crime, this feeds into the wider policing picture, both in the UK and internationally.

I also have a strong belief in partnership working. Effective partnerships help provide good practice and accountability and I want to see this built up nationally”.  

ENDS

This is a very welcome appointment. Kev has a great deal of experience of tackling illegal raptor persecution from his time spent on North Yorkshire Police’s rural taskforce. He’s renowned for his enthusiasm, energy and determination and is highly respected by those at the front end of the conservation community.

Best of luck to him.

11 thoughts on “National Wildlife Crime Unit – new head appointed”

  1. As Chair of the UK Badger Persecution Delivery Group (bit of a misnoma?) he might be advised to turn the focus of attention to the various Ministers and others that have mandated a cull of 1000’s of “Brock” against the scientific evidence re its efficacy and more generally re BTB “transmission”? Que sera sera !!

  2. Chief Inspector Kelly said:-
    “Many people who abuse and exploit animals will abuse and exploit people, and I want to continue to show that when we effectively enforce wildlife crime, this feeds into the wider policing picture, both in the UK and internationally.”

    Many of us have known about the link between animal cruelty and harm to humans. It is gratifying to hear it said by a British police officer.

  3. “Many people who abuse and exploit animals will abuse and exploit people.” Another take on that might be that he is looking to prioritise working class crime as opposed to the systemic crime activities that take place on pheasant shoots and Driven Grouse Moors, the latter implies extremely wealthy people.
    His background — in badgers — gives him the relevant experience.
    Time will tell.

  4. I wish Ch Insp Kelly well in his new role. A role which no doubt will be very challenging, as he has a number of different balls to juggle as he works with the various partnership agencies to tackle the current priorities for the NWCU. Some of those partnerships may assist him him in one area but hinder in another. He will also have to liaise with some police forces where wildlife crime isn’t a priority and where resources don’t meet demand.
    And just like PC Ross in Scotland, he will be at times working in a system that is not fit for purpose.
    Hopefully his grounding in frontline wildlife policing in North Yorkshire – a county with the reputation of a raptor persecution hotspot, will help him wade through the treacle.

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