Natural England still silent, apparently on police orders, about hen harrier whose wings were torn off

Natural England is maintaining its silence about the gruesome fate of one of its satellite-tagged hen harriers whose wings were torn off in an act of inconceivable violence in March last year.

I first blogged about this criminal investigation in December 2021 (here), where I discussed how Natural England had remained silent about it for months and months and months, even when the grouse shooting industry was wheeling out its annual propaganda-fest claiming to be the hen harrier’s best friend. Natural England, knowing full well what had happened to this young harrier, said nothing to challenge the shooting industry’s claims.

On 20th December 2021 Natural England tweeted that the incident (crime) was the subject of a police investigation so refused to comment further at that stage. I argued that this was a cop-out by Natural England because this particular investigation had begun over 9 months ago but nobody had been interviewed, let alone arrested or charged, and the likelihood of a prosecution was precisely zero, just as in the 60 other police investigations relating to hen harrier persecution in the last three years alone (see here).

Nothing further was heard until Natural England published a hen harrier update blog last Friday (4th March 2022) which included the following statement about this crime:

I still think this is a cop out by Natural England, backed up by the police – commentary could easily be given that would not compromise the supposedly ‘ongoing investigation’.

At the end of this month it’ll be one year since this crime was committed. Unless there is a significant statement from the police that somebody has been charged (there won’t be, believe me), I intend to blog about some of the details of this case in early April because I believe it’s in the public interest to do so.

UPDATE 25th August 2022: Hen harrier’s ‘wings removed’ & its satellite tag fitted to a crow in sick ploy to disguise the crime (here)

11 thoughts on “Natural England still silent, apparently on police orders, about hen harrier whose wings were torn off”

  1. I smell something fishy .. and it’s not a corpse. It would be an extremely difficult situation to create a false or vague narrative concerning the circumstances and context as they might very well point the finger in a certain direction… a direction which might — or might not – -raised some tricky questions.

  2. It is potentially unfair to brand all police officers as untrustworthy, but from time to time police activity (or the lack of it) emanates a rancid odour.
    Far too much is cloaked under a conspiracy of silence.

  3. One assumes NE are unwilling to share details on a basis of total confidence with one interested party who could then say – ‘Yes, I understand why this is confidential’. So we continue to believe they are kicking the can down the road in the usual way, and no legal action will result, in the usual way.

  4. Good for you, Ruth. Keep up the pressure. Unless these sorts of issues stay in the spotlight, they tend to drop off the radar and become forgotten. As far I am aware, commentary is legitimate until someone is formally charged at which point it becomes sub judice at which point anyone who makes a comment risks being in contempt of court.

  5. One wonders when the police asked NE not to comment publicly. Of course because police forces are very busy and if it were no longer the case it seems unlikely that the police would say so or perhaps more likely NE haven’t asked.

  6. Please be careful. If there are those out there looking for an excuse to drop the investigation, you might provide the pretext, by going public too soon.

  7. I have several FOI requests ongoing with police forces, a couple of which are now with the Information Commissioner. It’s a long process but happy to pursue this case if it helps.

  8. On the face of it NE seem to be hiding behind the cover of the “police”, rather than identifying which police force had requested that that the lid be kept on this case. No-one has been charged so reporting isn’t restricted, and if asked the police force would explain their actions, which makes this smell like smoke and mirrors again.

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