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Wildlife Crime

The Wildlife Crime Working Group works to improve the conservation and protection of wild flora and fauna threatened by domestic wildlife crime and international trade, also seeking to address the associated welfare issues. The working group aims to ensure the effective enforcement of UK wildlife laws and the proper implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and relevant EU directives.

Chair: Mark Jones, Born Free Foundation
Vice Chair: Peter Charleston, Bat Conservation Trust
Policy and Campaigns Manager: Zoe Davies, Link

Update from the Group

Domestic Wildlife Crime

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) recently launched England and Wales’s first Wildlife Crime Policing Strategy, running from 2018-2021. It was launched alongside a Rural Affairs Strategy at the NPCC Rural Affairs Summit, which a number of Group members attended. Produced in close consultation with many members of this group, the Wildlife Crime Policing Strategy contains much to be welcomed, including echoing our calls for improved recording of wildlife crime.

Shortly before the launch of this strategy, members met with Home Office Minister, Victoria Atkins, to advocate for better central recording of wildlife crime. The Minister noted that any changes to the way in which wildlife crime is recorded must have the full support of the police. Publication of this strategy demonstrates that there is clear consensus between the police and the NGO sector, therefore strengthening the case for Home Office to make the urgent improvements needed to protect our wildlife from criminals. The Group is now supporting the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in their pitch to the National Crime Registrar for improved recording of wildlife crime.

In August, the Group responded to the Sentencing Council’s consultation on generic sentencing guidelines for crimes where no specific guideline exists – which includes the vast majority of wildlife crimes. The Group urged that sentencing guidelines take account of the negative impact of wildlife offences not just on people and rural communities, but on the welfare and conservation status of affected species and habitats. Members also highlighted that many wildlife criminals are also linked to other types of offence, including dangerous and pervasive organised crime.

International work

The Group is working closely with Defra ahead of forthcoming international meetings and events, including the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference being held in London in October.

For further information, contact Zoe Davies, Link’s Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 31 August 2018