Although police are required to investigate wildlife crime, it’s not a compulsory subject on the national Police Curriculum which means that all too often, it’s not dealt with efficiently or effectively.
When calls are received reporting the disturbance of a badger sett, some Control Room Officers dismiss the issue as not a police matter, instead referring callers to council dog wardens, or to the RSPCA. Officers that lack knowledge or experience attending the crime fail to investigate effectively.
There has of course been some very good police work carried out across the wildlife crime arena, including badger crime, and the intention is to build upon that through education.
So far the following police forces have received our badger persecution training, which is a joint training programme with the Badger Trust.
The enthusiasm of the Wildlife and Rural Crime Officers and Police Community Support Officers has been evident throughout each of the day's training, showing their commitment to fighting badger crime.
The full day's training involves both theory and practical work, covering:
- Badger ecology to enable police to recognise unusual activity
- How to identify and prove that a badger sett is active
- How to best use legislation to protect badgers
- How to work with key partner organisations like Naturewatch Foundation.
The afternoons are spent in local areas where badger setts are located. The police are tasked with identifying whether the setts are active, using their newfound knowledge learnt that morning.
PC Claire Dinsdale, deputy lead for wildlife crime in Dorset:
“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."
Nick Willey, Lincolnshire Police Wildlife Crime Officer:
"I would like to pass on my thanks to Badger Trust, Naturewatch Foundation and the farming community for the support given in providing the training. I have had nothing but positive feedback from the officers who attended.
The investigation of badger crimes can be very complex and complicated, but by working together with our partner organisations, we can ensure that we can go some way to stamp out this barbaric and horrendous crime and raise awareness of wildlife crime in general. This training has ensured our Officers are better equipped to combat these issues."
Adrian Ward, Dyfed Powys Police Wildlife Crime Officer:
" I am extremely grateful for the badger course that Craig Fellowes presented to Police at Llandrindod Wells Emergency Services facility on the 27th of June 2017. This was attended by Officers from Dyfed-Powys, West-Mercia and Gwent Police forces, so it can be said that a whole policing region covering the majority of the Welsh Border is now better equipped to face the challenges of investigating badger persecution.
I have been dealing with cases of this type for nearly twenty years and the day filled large gaps in my knowledge and has sent me out better prepared to tackle Wildlife Crime.
I would also like to thank Naturewatch Foundation and The Badger Trust for providing funding for the day as in these straightened times cost implications are always a consideration for Police Managers, and the fact that there was no charge, in my view, promoted a healthy attendance and gave the officers the opportunity to gain from this learning experience."
Julie Turrell, Humberside Wildlife Crime Officer:
"Humberside would like to thank Craig, Naturewatch Foundation and the Badger Trust for the training and input provided. All our officers thought it was a very well presented course and left full of enthusiasm to highlight badger persecution and investigate all offences reported."
Lorraine Ellwood, Lancashire Police Rural & Wildlife Officer:
"Lancashire Constabulary has recently been fortunate to receive training for our Rural and Wildlife officers in relation to badgers, which was supported by the Badger Trust and Naturewatch Foundation. The trainer, Craig Fellowes, is very knowledgeable and a great ambassador for these organisations. We thank you again for your continued support."
We are proud to be working with the Badger Trust to deliver police training to forces across England and Wales #StopBadgerCrime