Are the police doing enough to protect birds of prey, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

This may not come as any surprise to most of our readers. We have known for years that too often the police actually side with the shooting estates and their gamekeepers rather than the birds of prey they are supposed to be helping to protect. At meeting held at Lancashire Police HQ to gain new ‘wildlife officers’, only one officer who attended was keen on protecting wildlife, the majority of his fellow officers at the meeting were more interested in shooting! Currently there are three police officers working in and around the Forest of Bowland, all are either interested in shooting , or are themselves members of shooting syndicates. Was it coincidental that only a single pair of breeding hen harriers were successful last year out of a total of seven breeding attempts recorded in the Forest of Bowland last year?  Since 2010 we have witnessed as many as seventeen pairs of peregrines inside the Forest of Bowland disappear; this year only a single pair managed to rear just one chick. In 2010 Natural England withheld licenses used to monitor and protect hen harriers and peregrines in Bowland from the local raptor group. The police are still investigating the loss of Skye and Hope the two Bowland satellite tagged hen harriers which disappeared in 2014. The police surprisingly are no further on with their investigation into the disappearance of the 5 male hen harriers which also vanished into thin air last year from moorland in the Forest of Bowland and from the single site in the northern Pennines.

Surely the whole idea of this meeting was to find suitable officers that wanted to protect the wildlife under the laws that were granted to do just that, not have officers who were only there for a ‘jolly’ creating the wrong impression when they entered an estate to try and push the law. Very few estates across Britain keep to the law when it comes to ‘protected’ birds of prey, so why were the majority of officers allowed into the meeting each interested in shooting! No wonder wildlife crime in Britain is on the increase with the wrong officers doing the job as this article exposes!

Only officers with long term interest of wildlife showing membership of local wildlife groups should attend such meetings. If officers turn up without an interest and the experience needed to protect wildlife then recruit outside the present staff. It is not ‘rocket science to understand the need to protect wildlife especially birds of prey as it creates a £ million industry without even trying compared to shooting with its bad management of uplands causing £billions of flooding, carbon release and lead poisoning all around the country.

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2 comments to Are the police doing enough to protect birds of prey, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

  • My experience with the Northumberland Wildlife Liason Officer was that he was simply not interested in protecting birds and was better suited to raising his profile as a policeman watercolourist. It was a shock to discover this and I wasted time liasing with him that would’ve been better spent elsewhere. I am no longer in the field and am now comfortable in disclosing this.

  • Kevin moore

    In Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland, it all depends upon who you are as regards the police being interested in protecting rare birds of prey. If you are a member of the North West Raptor Protection Group the police seem hell bent on trying to get a prosecution, but on the other hand if you are a gamekeeper then you are free to do as you please. Consider this, 17 pairs of Bowland peregrines all disappeared since the NWRPG lost their Bowland licenses in 2010. Of the 6 breeding attempts this year only a single pair were successful fledging one chick. Hen Harriers in England now on the brink of extinction after 12 breeding attempts, 7 attempts in Bowland resulted in just a single chick successfully fledged. Depending upon who you speak to this was classified as a success, in my view this was a disaster.