Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has expressed delight at news that the UK’s specialist unit for wildlife law enforcement will continue, following a successful national campaign to prevent its closure.
It was feared that The Wildlife Crime Unit, which tackles wildlife crime would be forced to close at the end of March due to Government funds being axed. However, on Tuesday, March 1st, it was announced that four years’ worth of funding has been secured keeping it open until 2020.
Vera Baird, said: “This is a great victory for campaigners. The Government had to be pushed into funding this unit and I am pleased they finally came to their senses, recognising the importance of this vital work in tackling wildlife crime. Unfortunately other areas of the police budget have not been protected in the same way.
“Across Northumbria we are fortunate to have some fantastic wildlife and we need to do all we can to protect it. Without this unit, crimes like badger baiting and the slaughter of wild birds of prey would have been forced to go uninvestigated. We need this unit because its members are specially trained to respond to these crimes and work with our officers to prevent animal cruelty and prosecute the criminals responsible.
“As a country, we need to strengthen our stance against these crimes and I’m pleased the unit will be able to continue its efforts in investigating wildlife crime and working hard to put a stop to it.”
Anyone who sees an incident involving the harming of wildlife or witnesses a crime against wildlife should report it to Northumbria Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.