PROGRESS !

There really isn’t time to write in detail, but it is important, I think, that we cover some news.

Dilip Sarkar, right, at his old force’s (West Mercia Police) HQ in January 2015, for the Wildlife Crime Mini Conference, with, from left to right: retired Warwickshire police officer Craig Fellowes of Wildlife Crime Training UK; retired North Wales police officer Pete Charleston, a fellow NWCU volunteer, and a Bat Conservation Trust investigator; Ian Guildford of the NWCU; West Mercia Assistant Chief Constable, Amanda Blakeman; Carol Cotterill of Warwickshire Rural Watch & Horse Watch; Sergeant Allie Webster of the Warwickshire & West Mercia Rural & Business Crime Project. Only through raising awareness of our issues, working in partnership with others – and reporting incidents – will we crack this.

Dilip Sarkar, right, at his old force’s (West Mercia Police) HQ in January 2015, for the Wildlife Crime Mini Conference, with, from left to right: retired Warwickshire police officer Craig Fellowes of Wildlife Crime Training UK; retired North Wales police officer Pete Charleston, a fellow NWCU volunteer, and a Bat Conservation Trust investigator; Ian Guildford of the NWCU; West Mercia Assistant Chief Constable, Amanda Blakeman; Carol Cotterill of Warwickshire Rural Watch & Horse Watch; Sergeant Allie Webster of the Warwickshire & West Mercia Rural & Business Crime Project. Only through raising awareness of our issues, working in partnership with others – and reporting incidents – will we crack this.

 Operation TRAVERSE

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.

 Operation LEVIATHAN

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.

2.Angling Trust ‘Building Bridges’ Project Manager Rado Papiewski (left) with PC Marc Jennings and Dilip Sarkar at Wiltshire Police HQ, April 2015

2. Angling Trust ‘Building Bridges’ Project Manager Rado Papiewski (left) with PC Marc Jackson and Dilip Sarkar at Wiltshire Police HQ, April 2015

 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&section=29&sectionTitle=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&sectionTitle=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&sectionTitle=Angling+Trust+News&itemid=2503

Angling Trust, EA and NWCU staff with existing and new Volunteer Bailiffs after the training day at Get Hooked on Fishing in April 2015.

Angling Trust, EA and NWCU staff with existing and new Volunteer Bailiffs after the training day at Get Hooked on Fishing in April 2015.

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 bailiffs@anglingtrust.net.

 

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.

Volunteer Bailiffs and Hampshire Police jointly patrolling the river Itchen in April 2015

Volunteer Bailiffs and Hampshire Police jointly patrolling the river Itchen in April 2015

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.

The EA’s Mick Cox, demonstrating nets, lines and traps to Wiltshire Police officers.

The EA’s Mick Cox, demonstrating nets, lines and traps to Wiltshire Police officers.

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

 

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