Poaching can lead to a number of animal welfare issues, serious loss of income from illegal taking of game and fish and the damage which many poachers do to crops and land.
This week the NFU will be attending the National Anti-poaching Conference which is being held at Uttoxeter on the 11th September.
The event will be attended by numerous police officers from England and Wales, various government departments and non-government organisations with the aim of increasing awareness.
The Poaching Priority Delivery Group (E&W)
The Poaching Priority Delivery Group (E&W) comprises of police representatives, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO), the Food Standards Agency, the Deer Initiative, the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency (EA), the National Farmers Union (NFU), Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Countryside Alliance (CA).
One of the initiatives of the E&W Poaching Priority Delivery Group is Project Trespass . It has seen some good results and its aims are to coordinate action across England and Wales through;
- Prevention – offering best advice to farmers, landowners, gamekeepers, shooting and land management organisations regarding measures to put in place to prevent poaching and disruption mechanisms
- Intelligence – to allow the police to target offenders
- Enforcement – with good intelligence the police can target poachers through the various rural and poaching based operations run throughout England and Wales
- Reassurance – by working together and by publicising resulting actions such as activity, arrests, seizures and convictions.
The initiative has seen public meetings held across the country involving partner agencies involved with the group, local police and members of the public living and working in the countryside.
One of the issues surrounding poaching is that while it is a crime, it is not classed as a recordable offence by Home Office statistics, which means it is difficult to obtain accurate figures. Another concern is the amount of under-reporting of poaching and indeed other rural crime. It is therefore important that we act as one to combat poaching and rural crime by reporting all incidents.
What to do if you have poachers on your land
If you see or are aware of poachers on your land and want them off, call the police. If you are being threatened or damage is being caused, then that is urgent you should call 999 (101 is the non-emergency number to report incidents). Give them as much information as you have, such as vehicles used, how many offenders, location, do they have firearms, etc. The most important thing is to get an incident or log number and ask for the incident to be forwarded to the Wildlife Crime Officer and the local beat officer. To report a rural crime contact your local police force or find your local police force wildlife crime officer.
To report crimes anonymously contact Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111 www.crimestoppers-uk.org