Dorset Police does the unthinkable & confirms no further investigation into poisoned white-tailed eagle

Further to this morning’s post when I wrote about the rumours circulating that Dorset Police was about to announce it was closing its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a white-tailed eagle found poisoned on a game-shooting estate in January this year (see here), well they’ve only gone and done it.

A few minutes ago Dorset Police’s main Twitter account published the following statement:

For all the reasons I wrote about this morning, this is not only an astonishing move by the police but also of very high concern.

As the police statement says, at this stage it’s not possible to know whether the elevated amount of rodenticide (Brodifacoum) found in the eagle’s corpse was the result of a deliberate act (a crime) or due to accidental secondary poisoning, but surely the whole point of a police investigation is to, er, investigate the circumstances further to try and determine what happened?

And even more importantly than that, there is serious concern that whatever that eagle had eaten may still be out in the open, risking the lives of other wildlife, not least the other satellite-tagged white-tailed eagles known to frequent this area.

I am deeply suspicious of Dorset Police’s motivations for closing this investigation. Again, as discussed this morning there are too many ‘coincidences’ for me not to be incredulous about this and Dorset Police now has some questions to answer.

Who took the decision to close this investigation?

On what basis was that decision made?

Was the decision unduly influenced by political interference?

Why isn’t Dorset Police searching for evidence of poisoned baits?

How does Dorset Police justify the potential risk to other white-tailed eagles in the area?

Why has the word ‘wildlife’ been removed from Dorset Police’s Rural Wildlife crime team?

Who took the decision to remove it?

On what basis was that decision made?

Was the decision unduly influenced by political interference?

If you’d like to ask these questions, and/or any others, please email Dorset Police on: 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk Please quote reference # 55220015571.

UPDATE 15.05hrs: RSPB ‘completely baffled’ by Dorset Police decision to prematurely end poisoned eagle investigation (here)

UPDATE 16.40hrs: Question to be tabled in House of Lords about Dorset Police’s decision to close eagle poisoning investigation (here)

UPDATE 30th March 2022: Poisoned eagle in Dorset had 7 x lethal dose rodenticide in its liver (here)

UPDATE 1st April 2022: Another eagle suspected poisoned on a Dorset shooting estate (here)

UPDATE 14th April 2022: Dorset Police refuse FoI request for correspondence between them and Chris Loder MP on poisoned eagle (here)

UPDATE 20th April 2022: Unconvincing statement from Dorset Police on closure of investigation into poisoned eagle (here)

UPDATE 21st April 2022: Chris Packham submits FoI requests to Dorset Police and the Crime Commissioner about poisoned eagle (here)

UPDATE 22nd April 2022: More questions asked about Dorset Police’s mishandling of the poisoned eagle investigation (here)

UPDATE 26th April 2022: The office of the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner: incompetent or something more sinister? (here)

UPDATE 27th April 2022: Dorset Police Chief Constable and the Police & Crime Commissioner on a futile damage limitation exercise (here)

UPDATE 29th April 2022: Another dead buzzard in Dorset – Police warn public of suspected poisoned baits (here)

UPDATE 29th April 2022: Email correspondence between Chris Loder MP and Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner re: poisoned eagle (here)

UPDATE 16th May 2022: Poisoned eagles in south of England feature in The Telegraph (here)

UPDATE 19th May 2022: Wildlife Crime Working Group seeks explanation from Dorset Police about failure to investigate poisoned eagle incident (here)

UPDATE 25th May 2022: Dorset Police and the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner in breach of Freedom of Information Act by failing to respond to Chris Packham’s request for info on poisoned eagle (here)

UPDATE 26th May 2022: Further breach of Freedom of Information Act by Dorset Police re: poisoned eagle (here)

UPDATE 30th May 2022: Your opportunity to question Dorset Police Chief Constable on poisoned eagle case 7 breaches of FoI law (here)

UPDATE 31st May 2022: Premature closure of poisoned eagle investigation was ‘proportionate’ claims Dorset Chief Constable (here)

UPDATE 31st May 2022: Dorset Police’s generic FoI response on poisoned eagle investigation is inaccurate and unsatisfactory (here)

UPDATE 8th June 2022: Poisoned eagle investigation: “You and I need to get our ducks in the row on this one”, Dorset PCC tells Chris Loder MP (here)

UPDATE 11th June 2022: BBC’s Countryfile to feature #EagleGate (here)

UPDATE 14th June 2022: Watch Dorset’s poisoned eagle fiasco on BBC’s Countryfile (here)

UPDATE 19th June 2022: Dorset Police continues its damage limitation exercise re: its botched investigation into the poisoned eagle (here)

39 thoughts on “Dorset Police does the unthinkable & confirms no further investigation into poisoned white-tailed eagle”

  1. Letter sent, don’t expect a reply. What is it about counties with Tory MP’s and Tory PCC’s and the failure to take wildlife crime seriously?

    1. I stand corrected: reply received:
      “Good afternoon,
      Thank you for contacting Dorset Police.
      I have added the contents of your email to our report and tasked this for the attention of the Officer in case.
      Dorset Police Occurrence Number: 55220015571

      If you have any further information to provide, please contact us by email at 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by telephone on 101. Please also ensure that if there is any immediate THREAT, RISK, or HARM, to call us on 999.
      Kind Regards,

      Tom (7369)
      101/999 Contact Officer
      Tel: 101 Email: 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk
      Contact Management
      Dorset Police, Winfrith Headquarters, DT2 8DZ”

  2. I think it is very advantageous to have the this situation develop on the very day that the police in London reveal next to nothing about “Partygate” but make the public think that this is an ongoing investigation. They’ve taken a leaf right out of “The Raptor Killer’s Manual” in which it appears that they are seeking to detect a crime while all the time the real onus is to reach a positionb where they cannot say if a crime took place or not, to the benefit of those further up the ladder.
    Nothing to report here, then. Blueprint functioning as it should.

  3. My question would be about the high levels of brodifacoum that were found in the Eagle. How high?
    What experience have they to compare the level with?
    Enough to kill a sizeable bird like that gradually would be a pretty poor excuse given the large areas these birds cover and the young age of them.
    Are they not even concerned about people’s dogs finding a bait?

    1. This is the key question. Presumably the toxicological tests were carried out by Fera, in which case it would be useful to know what their conclusions were. In particular, were they the basis of the Police decision to take no further action?
      I don’t know much about the feeding habits of WTSEs, but the fact that it must have fed on carrion to ingest the poison suggests that rats would be on the menu, if available.
      It is highly unlikely that the only rodenticide in use in the extensive area roamed by this bird was brodifacoum. Testing of birds which have died from secondary poisoning through feeding on rats killed by rodenticides usually shows traces of several such substances (eg brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, difethialone). Did the testing reveal any other rat poisons here? If not, this factor, in conjunction with the apparently large dose, is surely indicative of the probability of foul play.

  4. Police – used to be snow white, but they drifted.
    Failure of law enforcement is not unique to any one political party nor is it confined to wildlife crime..

  5. I will be emailing Dorset police and ask the questions.
    Failure to investigate by the police seems to be a frequent theme now. Downing Street’s parties were initially not investigated by the Met on the basis of no evidence. I recently phoned in an incident (a man firing what looked like an air rifle in an open barn, visible from a public footpath) and was told the man probably wouldn’t be there if the police visited and they probably wouldn’t be able to identify him from the video I shot. Seemed like they couldn’t be bothered. I made some preliminary enquiries and found out that another local resident had reported similar and a known drug addict was carrying a rifle around. 2 incidents may not be linked but until you actually investigate you wouldn’t know.

  6. I would urge everyone who writes to Dorset Police to cc their MP into the letter. In my experience the police and other regulatory bodies tend to be more responsive when MPs are involved. It will, hopefully, also demonstrate the level of concern over this outrageous decision nationally.

    1. I’m afraid my MP is Robert Roberts and I’ve given up emailing him with anything as I’m ‘one of 70,000 constituents in Delyn’ (meaning my opinion is worthless!! He was suspended from the Tory party for misconduct last year but is now Independent! As far as wildlife crime is concerned (rife in Denbighshire, next county to me) he’s really not bothered!!

      1. Sorry to hear that. My advice for non-responding MPs is to always cc to your local newspaper, BBC station, etc etc with your email to the representative in question (and escalate as you see fit…)

        At least you have then given yourself the chance of complaining in public about the MP’s non-response on the topic. If your topic is popular, this begins to undermine their credibility and support…

        Where you are really stuffed is when the media are also biased against you…

  7. I have lived in Dorset and know what a sinister county this is. Sue, I would be surprised if you receive a reply from Dorset Police. They are in the habit of declining to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests. I wouldn’t call them cowboys but you can hear their spurs jangling as they walk down the street. Freemasonry is the overwhelming influence within Dorset Police as it is within Dorset generally. My view is that could well be the reason this case has been dropped. I imagine is would be possible to challenge their decision but this would incur legal expenses.

      1. When you complain to the IOPC they send the complaint to the force you are complaining about. So in this case the complaint would be sent from the IOPC to Dorset police. Apparently it is up to the police force to refer to the IOPC.
        I’ve tested this and it is true. So much for the ‘independent’ aspect of the IOPC!

        1. Not wholly correct. Certain complaints have to be referred back to the IOPC by the receiving Police force, and those concerning Police conduct – with claims of undue outside influence, maybe – often are.

          What, for example, was the role of Tory MP Chris Loder’s public intervention – in saying the investigation should be scrapped – in the final decision to stop the investigation, and against the evidence gathered?

  8. Hello Lads, I need to send a couple of photos to Ruth and Chris is there an email contact for them please. many thanks, Bill Jackson

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