Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has met with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and re-iterated his manifesto pledge to tackle wildlife crime and cruelty to animals.
The RSPB expressed particular concern over the future of bird of prey populations in the High Peak following a number of persecution incidents over the years which has left goshawk and peregrine numbers hanging by a thread.
The Derwent Valley has been subject to a catalogue of bird of prey persecution incidents in recent times involving the shooting, trapping and nest destruction of protected birds. In one of the most recent incidents in May last year, a goshawk’s eggs were smashed in the nest only days from hatching. The RSPB put up a £1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction but the culprit has not been found.
In 2011, Derbyshire Police led the way in prosecuting a gamekeeper for using a caged pigeon to lure birds of prey to a trap in the Derwent Valley. The RSPB supplied the crucial video evidence in the case.
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 (WCO). We hope that the force can build on this success in the future under the Commissioner’s guidance.”