A training course designed to help improve police officers’ understanding of firearms and wildlife law has been successfully completed with the help of the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), working with police wildlife and rural crime officers from Lancashire and Cumbria constabularies.
The course, organised with wildlife crime officers Lorraine Ellwood (Lancashire) and Helen Branthwaite (Cumbria), included demonstrations from BASC’s regional officer for the North West, Duncan Thomas. He explained how to identify the signs of poaching and gave briefings on firearms legislation, including how to check a certificate and its implications during a routine stop -check.
Duncan also provided presentations about BASC as an organisation and the work it does for shooting.
PC Carl Chew from Lancashire who patrols the Bowland Fells and Ribble Valley area said: “The week’s training has been superb and although I am already an experienced wildlife officer I am looking forward to getting back out on patrol. The presentations have been brilliant and it’s important that officers regularly receive refresher training.”
PC Helen Branthwaite said: “Cumbria Constabulary is committed to addressing the many challenges it faces in this specialist area of investigation. Ensuring our Wildlife Crime Officers have a good level of knowledge and understanding is vital to enable them to carry out their roles effectively. Wildlife Crime has significant impact not only on the environment but also on our rural communities and those involved exploit it for their own gain. This training project will work towards addressing these issues and help to preserve our wildlife and environment for generations to come.”
Duncan Thomas said: “Poaching and other forms of rural crime can have serious effects on communities so it is vital that police officers working in rural areas can identify these crimes and take action to stop them. The training BASC has provided with Lancashire and Cumbria constabularies is a positive step and will hopefully improve how police respond and interact with people engaged in shooting and how they tackle crime such as poaching.”