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Toolkit launched to help police tackle UK badger crime

Last modified: 6 October 2020 at 10:29am

Resources to support officers in investigating illegal persecution

The National Wildlife Crime Unit’s Badger Persecution Priority Delivery Group (BPPDG) is today, National Badger Day (6 October 2020), launching a toolkit of resources to support police officers in investigating crimes against badgers.

Inspector Kevin Kelly with a badger undergoing rehabilitation

Badgers are one of the UK’s most persecuted species, despite having one of the highest levels of protection in law and it is estimated that around 30,000 badgers fall victim to wildlife crime every year[1]. A team of representatives from the police, The Badger Trust, League Against Cruel Sports and a number of other organisations form the UK BPPDG, which is chaired by North Yorkshire Police Inspector, Kevin Kelly. He explains:

“Badger persecution comes in many forms ranging from the horrific practice of badger baiting to the avoidable sett disturbance or destruction which can occur when people carry out otherwise legal operations on land such as forestry or agricultural tasks.

“Investigating these crimes can be incredibly complex and the actions taken following the initial report can be the difference between securing a prosecution and seeing the individuals who commit these terrible crimes walk away with no consequences.

“The BPPDG identified a real need for resources to support police officers and specially-trained Wildlife Crime Officers when they are faced with an investigation into badger persecution and so as a group we have worked to put together this toolkit which is now available to all UK police forces.

“The toolkit will help uplift knowledge and give support, specifically around interviewing suspects of badger crime. It also contains all the relevant details of the experts within the group who are on hand to advise and gives an insight to the practical application of dealing with these crimes. In addition, we hope the content of the toolkit will support officers in investigating other wildlife crimes too.

“We have already provided training to existing Wildlife Crime Officers, upskilling them with practical knowledge to manage crime scenes both in person or remotely. As well as reinforcing front line policing, this maximises opportunities to bring offenders to justice and ultimately to provide our badger population with the protection they deserve.”

All UK police forces will be receiving a copy of the toolkit sent to their Wildlife Crime lead in the next few days for dissemination within each force.

[1] The Badger Trust

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