Police are on a Snipe Hunt

Dear Editor,

Let us consider this claim from the RSPB:

The RSPB’s Investigations Section was instrumental in the creation of the police WCO network. Since then the network has gone from strength to strength.

The following figures are now plucked out of thin air, but I suspect that I’m not far wrong. Let’s assume 95% of all reported Wildlife Crimes (WC) aren’t criminal acts. Of the 5% that are, if only 1% result in prosecution should the police bother pursuing such crimes in the first place at the expense of other (real) crimes? Consider that the police in rural areas when investigating thefts and break-ins – which really matter to rural communities – simply limit their actions these days to providing the victim with a crime number.

We see a near constant stream of posts across social media from the police themselves, many originating from Constabulary FB Pages where individual WCOs are achieving nothing more than self-promotion by talking about wildlife crimes which are as rare as rocking horse crap. But if they stopped posting about wildlife crime they would be accused by sabs and antis of lethargy towards it. By doing so they think they are justifying their sinecure jobs (and I use such words with genuine regret). 

If only our rural police forces expended the same level of energy and effort in solving all rural crimes as they do chasing about after crimes which simply don’t exist, then rural criminals wouldn’t act with such a sense of impunity.

Now things have become dangerous…

How have we arrived at a situation where there are animal rights activists who proudly claim that they are ‘sponsoring’ police forces to investigate Wildlife Crime?

Apathy is the answer, coupled to the fact that most of us trust our judicial system and we, perhaps naively, continue to believe that those who are the custodians of our rural security wouldn’t be so gullible as to accept what is tantamount to bribery on behalf of the activists. 

Our police forces are supposed to be government-sponsored – they answer to governments and our courts alone. Allowing our police forces to be compromised by NGO influence is wholly wrong and unacceptable. That the National Audit Office accept this current and existing influence is shocking – it invites corruption.

By creating specific WCO roles the police have thought this through and recognised there is a need for such roles, right?   

A scene from the cartoon Up! where a fabled bird is pursued by Kevin. Kevin’s species is the mythical “Snipe”, a fictional bird created to send foolish people on wild goose chases.

I don’t believe so. I know there are not the amount of wildlife crimes activists say there are, and that police resource is currently wasted on a snipe hunt. Sure, animal rights activists are trying to pervert the course of justice and discovering all kinds of birds and animals that have died of natural causes or been hit by cars then claiming their deaths are wildlife crimes. But they are not wildlife crimes, are they? When we discover that a post mortem on a bird of prey states that poison was discovered in the crop of the bird, how on earth could any court of law or individual with the capacity of applying even basic logic accept that the bird had died from a poison which hadn’t been ingested and digested? Animal rights activists are well aware that such evidence is not weight bearing and cannot stand up in a Court of Law. Their goal is to merely disrupt country life then end the traditions of so many rural people by claiming police involvement in an investigation gives them the moral authority.

If we read and believe all the hysterical and ludicrous claims of activist groups, we would imagine wildlife crime was rife and that country folk are all criminals. They are not. Just as the bulk of those who are licensed to hold and use firearms are also law-abiding citizens – they have carefully considered the moral aspect to their privileges.

It is time the Government re-examined the role of police forces when mere activist groups like the RSPB – for that is what they have descended into – are starting to finance and inculcate the police.

Yours sincerely,

Alec Swan