So far, Dorset, Lancashire and Derbyshire police forces have received our training. They are now equipped to investigate badger related crime and present evidence that will stand up in court that, all being well, will lead to a successful prosecution.
The enthusiasm of the Wildlife Crime Officers and Police Community Support Officers has been evident throughout each of the day's training, showing their commitment to fighting badger crime.
In 2016, the Badger Trust received 624 reports relating to perceived badger crime, with Dorset, Lancashire and Derbyshire being in the top six locations that reported the most cases, which is why they have been identified as priority areas.
The full day's training involved both theory and practical work, covering:
- Badger ecology to enable police to recognise unusual activity
- How to identify and prove in court that a badger sett is active
- How to best use legislation to protect badgers
- How to investigate a crime scene and properly gather, record, keep and present evidence that will stand up in court and lead to a successful prosecution
- How to work with key partner organisations like Naturewatch Foundation and the Badger Trust.
The afternoons were spent in local fields where badger setts are located. The police were tasked with identifying whether the setts are active, using their newfound knowledge learnt that morning.
PC Claire Dinsdale, deputy lead for wildlife crime, said: “Badger crimes can be some of the worst cruelty cases police and other agencies deal with. Badger persecution does happen in Dorset, and it is important we equip our officers with the latest training to catch the perpetrators committing these callous offences. I would like to thank the Badger Trust, Naturewatch Foundation and the local farming community for their support in delivering this training and raising awareness of wildlife crime."