News archive

September 2012

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Role of the Police Wildlife Crime Officer

Role of the Police Wildlife Crime Officer

When Barry Kaufmann-White came to speak to us last year about the Arctic, many of the questions afterwards were about his work as a Police Wildlife Crime Officer. So we asked him back to tell us about his experiences in more detail.

He explained the differing levels of protection given to some species - if you're a landowner wanting to develop some land, it's bad news if the ecological survey finds Great Crested Newts! Not so bad for the newts (who have the most amazing patterned underside).

Farmers with badger setts on their land have to obey definite procedures to avoid serious penalties. However, the sett is only protected whilst the badgers are occupying it. Bats get a better deal - their roosting sites are protected all year, even when they are not present.

Barry explained that all NATIVE birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act (so that doesn't include Ring Necked Parakeets!). The Little Owl is the only introduced bird that IS protected. All birds that are bred in captivity must be ringed within 24 hours of hatching so there is no confusion with wild birds. It also has the benefit of enabling stolen birds to be re-united with their owners, sometimes after many years!

Wild plants are also protected. When eight hundredweight of native bluebells were dug up from a wood in a 24-hour period, it took months to replant them all but that is what happened!

Barry regaled us with various tales and their outcomes. It was good to hear that courts are now imposing substantial fines (and imprisonment) when our wildlife is threatened and harmed.
I certainly learned many interesting facts as I'm sure did the rest of the enthusiastic audience.

The link below gives some more information about Barry.

If you click on the 'Download file' link, then you will see the striking poster that David (our Publicity officer) produced to advertise this talk.

Download file