The Shooting Times magazine this week has announced that the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (NGO) has launched a pioneering scheme to aid rural policing and reduce wrongful arrests of keepers and other lawful shooters.
The National Gamekeepers’ Organisation is to train police forces in an initiative to improve law enforcement in rural areas and reduce the wrongful arrests of gamekeepers and other lawful shooters. It’s a pity someone did not offer training advice to the Wildlife Crime Officer for Lancashire last year before he asked a second officer to use the provisions of the Police Reform Act 2002 to illegally issue a Section S59 to enable police to seize the vehicle of a raptor worker. You can read an accounts of this story as it unfolded by following the three attached links.
Back to the story, a new NGO one-day course titled Gamekeeping and the law: Training for the police is being offered free of charge to officers and civilians within any police force in England and Wales. It is designed for those who wish to know more about what gamekeepers do, what the law actually says on things such as trapping, shooting, poaching and other rural crimes, and shows how keepers and the police can work together. Of course there is no mention of what the law says regarding the illegal persecution of raptors. We will not talk about this taboo subject.
Representatives of every police force at the National Wildlife Crime Enforcers, Conference said that they would like the course to be delivered to their staff, and Sussex, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire forces have each asked for more than 100 employees to be trained by the NGO.
The first training session will take place this month and officers others will follow rabidly. The training will be carried out by the NGO’s two development officers, Louse Stimson and Tim Weston, with assistance from local NGO gamekeeper members.
Lindsay Waddell, the NGO chairman, said “we are doing this for gamekeeping and for the whole rural community. The police want to do their best, but with staff cutbacks and many officers having no background in the countryside there have been bad misunderstandings in the recent past and sometimes wrongful arrests. The obvious thing is to explain what gamekeepers do, what the law says and how we can help each other.” We all know what many gamekeepers do, and we all know what the law says, but they still do it. Perhaps a better idea of using police resources would be to provide advice and training to gamekeepers, helping each of them understand that the persecution of protected raptors is a criminal offence.
Chief constable Richard Crompton, who leads for the Association of Chief Police Officers on all rural policing issues, said “The attendance of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation at this years’ National Wildlife Crime Enforcers’ Conference was very welcome. The production of training materials and the offer to provide input to police training is further welcome evidence of a maturing partnership.
We wonder if house breakers, bank robbers and other professional criminals will now also be invited to train and offer advice to the police to help avoid being wrongfully arrested or the subject of any miscarriages of justice in the future!