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Study reveals police forces' wildlife enforcement efforts

A new report published by World Animal Protection, an organisation campaigning to stop animal cruelty, shows that out of 43 Police forces in England and Wales Surrey and Thames Valley were found to be in the bottom 13, while Hampshire and Sussex were found to be in the top 12 for measures to protect wildlife against cruelty.

key_catherine.pngThe study surveyed Police and Crime Commissioners from each of the forces to establish what wildlife crime prevention measures were in place.

The report is published in the sameweek as findings were published by the International Fund for Animal Welfare which showed that some of the world's most endangered species are bought and sold online in the UK, including exotics birds, primates and crocodiles. Online sales of illegal ivory in the UK were also reported to have shot up by 47% since 2008.

South East Euro-MP, Catherine Bearder, is a wildlife campaigner and has worked in the European Parliament to protect biodiversity for future generations.

Her recent campaign, calls on the European Commission to develop an action plan to tackle wildlife crime.

Catherine commented:

"Wildlife crime is fast being used by organised criminal gangs as an easy option as the level of policing is low.

"I am delighted Sussex and Hampshire forces have recognised this but it seems Surrey and Thames Valley have some way to go.

"Protection of our biodiversity is so vital to ensure the wellbeing of our planet and the survival of some of the country's most treasured creatures.

"I am now calling on those forces whose enforcement measures are lacking to redouble their efforts."

World Animal Protection UK Director of Campaigns & Communications, Simon Pope, said: "The result of our survey demonstrates that there are huge differences between forces when it comes to proactive wildlife crime enforcement. Some are good but others haven't yet addressed what is fast becoming recognised as an increasing criminal concern.

"We hope this survey acts as a call not only to all forces but also to national politicians to ensure that all forces in England and Wales, in both urban and rural communities, recognise and invest in wildlife crime more consistently whilst maintaining regional individuality. We understand it is a very difficult time for police forces having to 'do more with less', but believe our recommendations for a national strategy demonstrates that there are simple steps that can be taken to improve how we tackle these crimes."

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