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Police boss promises to focus on wildlife crime

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

By GARETH BUTTERFIELD

  • A male peregrine caught in a spring-trap deliberately placed near a nest in Staffordshire. This bird had to be euthanised

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DERBYSHIRE’S police and crime commissioner is following up on a promise made in his manfiesto and is looking at ways to address the county’s problems with wildlife crime.

Alan Charles, who promised ahead of being elected into the role in November that he would focus on wildlife crime and cruelty to animals, has met with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

He said the RSPB had expressed concern over the future of bird of prey populations in the the county following a number of incidents over the years which has left goshawk and peregrine numbers ‘hanging by a thread’.

Recent bird of prey persecution incidents include the shooting and trapping of protected birds, and damage caused to their nests.

In May last year, a goshawk’s eggs were smashed shortly before they were due to hatch, prompting a £1,000 reward being offered by the RSPB.

In 2011, Derbyshire Police prosecuted a gamekeeper for using a caged pigeon to lure birds of prey to a trap in the Derwent Valley.

The RSPB supplied the video evidence in the case that ensued.

Mr Charles said, “I am determined that that Derbyshire Police should provide a robust response to incidents of wildlife crime reported to us.

“We should all be able to enjoy the fantastic spectacle of birds of prey like peregrines, goshawks and buzzards soaring overhead when we are out enjoying the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.

“Those who destroy these amazing birds are diminishing our quality of life.”

Duncan McNiven, Senior Investigations Officer for the RSPB said, “We are very grateful to Mr Charles for turning his manifesto pledge into a solid commitment in the draft Police and Crime Plan for Derbyshire.

“We consider Derbyshire Police to be one of the best police forces in the country for the way it responds to wildlife crime incidents through its network of Wildlife Crime Officers.

“We hope that the force can build on this success in the future under the Commissioner’s guidance.”

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