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Review of the Prevention and Investigation of Wildlife Crime in Wales published
Police forces in Wales should consider the need for more full time wildlife crime officers according to a new review of the prevention and investigation of Wildlife Crime in Wales published last week.
The report was presented to Environment Minister Jane Davidson at the Senedd by Superintendant Tony Mathias on behalf of Ian Arundale, Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police who has responsibility for combating Wildlife Crime within Wales.
It recommends that each of the Welsh police forces identifies a biodiversity “champion” of supervisory rank to ensure that wildlife incidents are dealt with in a proportionate, professional and effective manner.
The report also stresses the importance of effective training for wildlife crime officers and recommends that each force has at least one officer trained to carry out the investigation of crimes relating to the illegal trade in endangered species. Student police officers and other members of staff should also receive training on wildlife crime.
The report, commissioned by the Minister in 2009, was produced by retired police sergeant Pete Charleston who completed 30 years service with North Wales Police and was the first full time wildlife crime officer in Wales.
The Minister said: “Wildlife crime is a problem in Wales that we cannot ignore. Recent prosecutions for the theft and attempted smuggling of falcons’ eggs from South Wales shows that we must be vigilant and proactive in protecting our wildlife from exploitation and interference.
"The commitment of the police to taking wildlife crime seriously is considered a paramount priority by the nature conservation community. This report emphasises the importance of policing of wildlife crime within general policing activities.
"There is often a direct link between wildlife crime and other criminal activities so taking action to minimise and act swiftly in wildlife crime cases has wider benefits for police efficiency.
"I therefore welcome the report and the continued commitment of the police and wildlife organisations to tackling wildlife crime in Wales and would like to thank Chief Constable Arundale and Pete Charleston for producing this report and for the role the police have played as members of the Wales Biodiversity Partnership in protecting wildlife."