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Save the National Wildlife Crime Unit from closure. Secure its place in British Justice.

This petition had 1,401 supporters

If you have read the news in recent weeks, you may have come across an article about the closure of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU). It is expected that the 12 strong unit will close within a matter of weeks. To give you some perspective let me first give you some information on the NWCU.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is a specialist government-funded agency that explicitly deals with wildlife crime. It does not carry out operational policing or bring prosecutions, but rather assists in prevention and detection of wildlife crime through gathering data and intelligence, performing tactical and strategic analysis and coordinating and facilitating co-operation across other agencies and countries. The NWCU is the only unit in the UK fulfilling the role of conduit between those engaged in wildlife crime enforcement. As such it has helped the UK to gain an enviable worldwide reputation for the manner in which it tackles the wildlife crime problem. This unit is a fundamental area of enforcement with regard to wildlife crime, yet only costs £427,000 a year to run. Much of the funding is allocated by the Home Office and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Along with focusing on national crimes such as poaching, raptor persecution, bat persecution and badger persecution, the NWCU also deals with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) issues such as the illegal trade in ivory and Rhino horn.

The closure of this unit will mean that much wildlife crime will go undetected to the police and there would no longer be the infrastructure needed to gather intelligence. People would be left to exploit British wildlife without penalty or consequence. Wildlife crime in the UK has already seen depletion in many species including the hen harrier, and the goshawk.

The number of incidents are soaring, and will likely rise following the closure of the unit. This could mean the further depletion of more species. Whilst the current government is leading the way globally in tackling wildlife crime overseas, it is also important to also look at what is happening on our own doorstep.

The NWCU plays an incredibly important role in doing this. We need to urge our government to give the NWCU a permanent place in British justice, enabling them to continue the unique work that they do. This can only happen if the public pull together to realise that tackling wildlife crime is important, and the cheapest and most effective way to do it, is with the NWCU in place.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Below I have posted some links for you to have a read if you are interested in this matter.


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