PCC Alan Charles with Sgt Darren Belfield, Wildlife Officer
The number of trained wildlife police officers in Derbyshire have risen by one-third from 22 to 36 in the past ten months – much to the delight of Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles who has pressed long and hard for greater protection of wildlife against criminals.
The latest rise in specially trained wildlife officers across the county followed a week-long course which the Commissioner helped to fund at Derbyshire Constabulary’s headquarters in Ripley (27 April – 1 May). “As a result, we now have a further 16 officers able to tackle wildlife crime and animal cruelty across the county,” he said.
This work is carried out by the officers alongside their day-to-day police role, so requires additional training regarding the law on wildlife crime, environmental legislation, endangered species and a multi-agency approach to investigative procedures.
Mr Charles commented: “The Force is receiving a growing number of calls relating to wildlife and animal cruelty issues, which I believe is a strong indication that many people want to see our wildlife protected and do what they can to ensure that the county’s natural heritage is preserved.
“Their concerns and willingness to report incidents have highlighted the need to train more officers to help tackle the illegal activities that cause pain, fear or the destruction of rare species, and I am grateful for their continued vigilance.”
Matlock-based Pc Emerson Buckingham, who assisted in last week’s training course, said that all 36 of Derbyshire’s wildlife officers were spread across the force area. “We cannot, of course, be everywhere at once so we do urge members of the public to keep their eyes and ears open and report any type of wildlife crime or suspicious incidents to Derbyshire Police.”
The course was also attended by 12 officers from other forces around the country including Dorset, Norfolk, Gwent and North and South Yorkshire. It was led by former Warwickshire police officer Craig Fellowes who runs the course under wildlifetraining.co.uk. A PAW (Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime) approved training course, it is delivered under the PAW banner.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Tuesday 12th May 2015