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Thirty five police officers from forces across the north of England were given an introduction to shooting sports by experts from BASC.

Following an overview by BASC north director Duncan Thomas, the officers were split into three groups and each spent time at three designated ‘training stations’ focusing on a series of practical scenarios including deer stalking and different types of pest and predator control.

Mr Thomas said he was especially impressed by the officers’ enthusiasm and some of the questions asked.

He said: “It was a fantastic day delivering wildlife and shooting sports awareness training to police and PCSOs from a number of northern police forces including Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Greater Manchester.

“It’s essential that police officers are fully aware of the vast amount of sporting shooting taking place across the countryside and how to quickly ascertain what is perfectly normal and what needs further investigation.

“The message from the event was to emphasise that shooting sports are a part of the everyday. Guns are merely tools of our trade and sport.

“This is another collaborative effort, with BASC and the NGO teaming up and putting 35 front line officers through a practical-based learning experience. General licences were a major topic and the consensus was the need for a practical, common-sense workable system.”

More officers are due to attend training later this month.

John Clarke, development officer (North) for the National Gamekeepers Organisation, said: “It is great to link up with BASC on this excellent initiative. Over two days, 60 police officers are shown the traps and snares that gamekeepers use. We explain how to set them within the law and why keepers need them to protect vulnerable ground nesting birds. The course is very well received and gives officers a more balanced understanding of the gamekeeping profession.”

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