I haven’t written much about the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group because it has largely been a waste of space for years. There have been strong signs from the new Chair, Supt Nick Lyall, that he wanted the group to be more effective in tackling wildlife crime.
On Wednesday the group had its first meeting under the new Chair and a number of people representing shooting organisations failed to attend. Now, as I understand it the roads weren’t covered in snow and the trains were working exactly as badly as ever so I don’t think this lack of shooters can be put down to road or rail chaos.
As I understand it, BASC, Countryside Alliance, Moorland Association and National Gamekeepers’ Organisation (at least) were absent. The organisations that did attend seem to think that it all went a lot easier than usual. Funny that.
We know from Supt Lyall’s Twitter feed that he is keen to get a publicity campaign against wildlife crime going across the UK – and about time too! It couldn’t possibly be, could it, that the shooting organisations felt uncomfortable at publicising the fact that raptor persecution is rife across the uplands and that shooting interests are very often behind these crimes?
I can see that the NGO might baulk at promoting the fact that 68% of convictions for crimes against birds of prey are of gamekeepers – they’ve never been that keen to promote that mesage before. But it’s good that a police officer, interested in law enforcment, is willing to take a lead on catching more wildlife criminals.
We’ve seen this type of coordinated approach from shooting organisations before. The same bunch of organisations, more or less, walked out of the Lead Amunition Group when they spotted it wasn’t going the way they liked. And Supt Lyall had better look out for pressure being put on him or his bosses for him to ease off – although that would be difficult since he hasn’t actually done anything yet!
Therese Coffey must be thrilled that her mates in the shooting organisations are apparently boycotting a Defra group set up to stop wildlife crime emanating from … errrr … the shooting industry. They are the type of stakeholders with which Defra can work!
You may read about this story in The Times tomorrow – you read it here first!