There really isn’t time to write in detail, but it is important, I think, that we cover some news.
In March I spoke at the Angling Trust East of England Regional Forum, chaired by Kelvin Allen, and in April at Adey Paul’s public meeting in Boston, Lincolnshire, on the Fisheries Enforcement Campaign and Operation TRAVERSE specifically. This is a partnership between Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire Police, the EA and Cefas to target illegal fishing and fish theft in those counties – the great news is that Northamptonshire Police have expressed interest in coming aboard.
This will be the biggest joint operation to target illegal fishing and fish theft launched to date – a multi-force and multi-agency initiative being launched on 11 June 2015. Full details follow – as will other similar initiatives. Ultimately our aim is to cover the whole of England with such operations.
Police Awareness & Court Results
We’ve all got the message, hopefully, that fishing without permission is actually a criminal offence (Schedule 1, Theft Act 1968), as is the theft of fish (from enclosed waters) – which MUST be reported to the police. Please see our guide: http://www.anglingtrust.net/news.asp?itemid=2213&itemTitle=NEW%3A+Guide+for+Anglers+Reporting+Offences+to+the+Police§ion=29§ionTitle=Angling+Trust+News
Together with EA colleagues, in particular Adrian Saunders (Senior Advisor Incidents & Compliance), we have spent the past few months briefing and training an ever increasing number of forces, including The Metropolitan Police and Wiltshire Police, and speaking at numerous policing conferences, such as this one: https://www.westmercia.police.uk/article/6007/Wildlife-Crime-Conference-Deemed-A-Success
We are now seeing this great effort leading to positive results, as all over England offenders are now appearing before magistrates – including this character, who probably doesn’t feel quite so clever now: http://www.anglingtrust.net/news.asp?section=29§ionTitle=Angling+Trust+News&itemid=2536
Results like this are no longer isolated – and send out a very clear message to offenders.
The problem previously has been a lack of awareness and understanding of fisheries offences – which the Fisheries Enforcement Campaign has challenged and changed: http://www.anglingtrust.net/news.asp?section=29§ionTitle=Angling+Trust+News&itemid=2503
Voluntary Bailiff Service
The VBS currently remains an operational pilot project in the SE, engaged, at Phase 1, in all-important intelligence-gathering – which we expect to see extended across England later this year. In April, we ran our seventh induction and training day for SE, with input from the Angling Trust, EA and police (UK National Wildlife Crime Unit), increasing our number of trained volunteers to 90. Anyone wishing to express interest in VBS should email email@example.com.
The VBS is currently engaged in Operation CLAMP DOWN 3, targeting illegal fishing and fish theft during the coarse close season in the pilot area. So far things have been comparatively quiet overall – which is possibly more evidence that the Fisheries Enforcement Campaign is working.
Fisheries Enforcement Workshops
Earlier in May, we ran a Fisheries Enforcement Workshop in partnership with the EA, Institute of Fisheries Management and National Wildlife Crime Unit for NE England in York. These sessions are vital not just for fishery owners, managers and angling clubs but all anglers. We all need to be aware of the advances being made, of the law and how the system works; until we are, we cannot make it work for us. What we must do is report all incidents and information to the police on 101 or 999 if appropriate, and/or the EA on 0800 80 70 60. These sessions are key, and we’ve now delivered Workshops in East Anglia, SW, SE, Midlands and NE. Next stop, later this year, will be NW – after which we’ll start the rounds again.
There is much more, and I’ll try and write in more detail after the launch of LEVIATHAN – regarding which, amongst other things, Adrian and I will be briefing EA team leaders and staff at the Sheffield call-centre later this week.
Suffice it to say there is no time to lose, and I must admit to feeling not unlike the ‘Mad Hatter’ from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sometimes!
So, keep ‘em peeled and report incidents to the authorities at the time, if at all possible, or anonymously using Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111.
More next time – must dash!
Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar MBE, 11 May 2015