Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidates standing for election in England on 6th May have been asked to declare their commitment to prioritising wildlife crime.
Wildlife and Countryside LINK (often referred to as just LINK) is the largest environment and wildlife coalition in England, bringing together 58 organisations for the protection of nature (there are also LINK groups in Wales and Scotland). The Wildlife Crime Working Group is one of LINK’s sub-groups and it has today written to all of the PCC candidates inviting them to state whether they will commit to prioritising wildlife crime.
[Rural & wildlife crime policing in Staffordshire. Photo from Staffordshire Police]
The latest figures collected by LINK suggest that at least 3,800 wildlife crimes were reported to police forces in 2019. This is just a snapshot of the number of animals being illegally hurt and killed every single day, sometimes for ’fun’, sometimes for profit, sometimes in sheer callousness. However, just ten people were convicted of wildlife crimes in the same year. That’s a shockingly low return.
LINK’s Wildlife Crime Working Group believes that many police forces are constrained by too few resources, limited training opportunities and ineffective reporting systems.
The group believes that Police and Crime Commissioners have a crucial role to play by increasing support for wildlife crime policing within the police plans and budgets they control, giving their officers increased access to wildlife crime training and by adding their influential voices to calls to national policing action.
LINK has asked all PCC candidates to commit to the following:
If elected as Police and Crime Commissioner, I commit to:
• Make tackling wildlife crime a key priority within my first police and crime plan, and to make budget provision to support this prioritisation;
• Increase wildlife crime training opportunities for officers in my force and liaise with the National Wildlife Crime Unit on best wildlife policing practice;
• Encourage the Home Secretary to make wildlife crimes notifiable, so that data on these crimes can be collected and used to inform policing.
Prior to the elections on 6th May and to help voters decide who to support, LINK will be reporting on which PCC candidates have made the commitment to prioritise wildlife crime.
14 thoughts on “Police & Crime Commissioner candidates asked to prioritise wildlife crime”
Standing in North Yorkshire is Keith Tordoff MBE who offered, along with another local businessman, £1000 for information on who was poisoning raptors in Nidderdale. He will get my vote.
By way of contrast I have been urging my MP – Julian Smith – to condemn illegal activity on the moors in his constituency. He refuses to.
The current incumbent preferred a secretary to having a civilian wildlife crime co-ordinator who was going to be a retired wildlife crime cop, she’d never get my vote.
I believe North Yorkshire has the sad title of being the county with the greatest number of reported raptor persecution incidents. – a county where wildlife crime appears to be rife, year after year after year!
So it would be very remiss of any politician, whether the PCC or an MP to ignore this and fail to either condemn what is happening, or ensure all possible steps are being taken to prevent these crimes occurring and bring offenders to justice.
If the issue were one of drug related gun crime, violence on the streets or other anti social behaviour degrading human life- any politician failing to speak out and address these issues would be deemed incompetent.
So the same can probably be said for those counties which rely on tourism as a source of revenue generation, and can’t afford to allow the National Parks, AONBs etc within their boundaries to be seen as places where wildlife is illegally killed and persecuted.
It’s perhaps something the politicians in Derbyshire also need consider, as the Dark Peak also seems to be a place with more than it’s fair share of wildlife criminals.
We have Jonathan Seed as a Conservative Candidate in Wiltshire – charged (but not convicted) of [Ed: alleged] hunting related crimes – long standing hunt supporter. Seems to block anyone on Twitter who asks about wildlife crime and hunting!!
Indeed: it shows the Tories contempt for our wildlife protection laws that they would put someone with his background forward as their candidate. Regardless of the fact he has never been convicted of any wildlife crime, xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx Just like raptor persecution, the problem is that the law is too weak and, particularly with the Hunting Act, the police fail to act to prevent the crimes. Indeed, by allowing hunt thugs / followers to get away with breaking traffic laws, carry out assaults and thefts and public order offences they are usually seen as on the side of the hunts. Otherwise a lot more people associated with hunts would have criminal records.
I suspect the Tories in Wiltshire are confused and think that the Police & Crime Commissioner is there to commission crimes!
Great to see Link getting themselves organised and putting wildlife crime high on the agenda of anyone being appointed as a commissioner with responsibilities for dealing with this blight in the countryside..
In N.Yorkshire Keith Tordoff will get my vote, he was not afraid to stick his head above the parapet over a recenr Kite poisoning in Nidderdale despite the town being surrounded by grouse shoots
How does this apply in Wales? the Dyfed Powys Chief Constable is pro hunting so we could do with a Commissioner who is pro wildlife crime solving.
Never heard of Link, so wondering why……..
What about Wales? They have PCC candidates and elections in May, too.
Yes, indeed. This is the English LINK – you’ll need to contact the Welsh LINK to see whether they are campaigning on this issue too.
Thank you, will check on that in Pembs.
In Humberside, the current PCC has sent out a mail drop saying he wants to be re – elected. In it, he writes about ‘more focus on rural issues’ with a new rural task force. But there is no mention about ‘wildlife crime’.