Saturday, 5 March 2011

Wildlife crime - the police perspective

I was invited by South Yorkshire Police to take part in Operation Dunlin, a major offensive against wildlife crime across the South Yorkshire area, overnight on Thursday 3rd-Friday 4th March.

It was a fascinating insight into the nature of wildlife crime (at least in that area), the way police tackle it, and the problems they face. I'll write up the night's events separately, but here's a short audio interview with Superintendent David Hartley (pictured above), wildlife lead for South Yorkshire Police, and Silver Commander for the operation.

He talks about the nature of wildlife crime in his area (mostly lamping with dogs on farmland), his relationship with local gamekeepers (valuable eyes and ears, and an important part of the rural community), the incidence of bird of prey persecution (virtually nil, except one case where a farmer, not a gamekeeper, was convicted of placing a poisoned carcase), and the use of the Hunting Act (irrelevant as regards foxhunting, but can be a useful tool against poachers lamping with dogs).

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