APGAW held a roundtable session chaired by Giles Watling MP and attended by police, NWCU, RSPCA, NatureWatch and a number of other experts to discuss wildlife crime and what needs to be done to tackle it.
The following points were discussed:
Wildlife & Rural Crime Together
The links between wildlife and rural crime must be made clear and accepted– they both have significant impacts on landowners, farmers and the public generally and do not exist in isolation.
Partnership approach is a must, investment in partnership can be more valuable than new legislation alone.
Currently police services cannot say precisely how much wildlife crime actually takes place within England and Wales, because wildlife crime offences are not notifiable, except in very limited circumstances. It must be specifically notifiable in order to understand the level of crime, the links to other criminality and to plan how to tackle it.
Share Data and Learning
There is a need to collectively share data and set out the current emerging trends and also share ways of addressing these trends. Legislation change is not always necessary, it can be about understanding the current tools and prioritising wildlife crime.
Understand Wildlife Crime
There is a need to clarify and communicate more clearly what wildlife crime is to the public to increase eyes on the ground- local authority engagement would be useful in this.
Sentencing does not add up in law and needs to be equal for all offences e.g. badger baiting 6 months and dog cruelty 5 years unless they use the AWA2006.
There is a need to recognise and connect the links to wider biodiversity and nature recovery agenda e.g. the Environment Act has a target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030.
Going forward APGAW has a number of actions to help the key organisations tackle wildlife crime and it will remain a workstream on our 2023/24 strategy.