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Rural Policing

Wildlife Crime

Hertfordshire is a non-metropolitan county which includes both rural areas and urban areas.  This ranges from areas such as the National Trust Ashridge Estate and its vast woodland habits, to east Hertfordshire’s vast farming land and even to Watford’s badger sets located in the heart of the town.   Wildlife crime can and does occur anywhere where animals can go. 


As a semi-rural county, issues reported regularly by the community include poaching of deer and other animals, raptor persecution, offences against badgers and the hunting of animals including foxes.  Wildlife crime can be difficult to prevent and investigate as it quite often takes place out of sight of the public eye, but when intelligence and information is received officers from the Rural Operation Support Team (ROST) - based at Police Headquarters in Welwyn Garden City – take on the investigation of the crime.


Wildlife crime takes many forms, from people shooting at birds with air guns in the local park to the more organised crimes of badger baiting and the trade in endangered species.  Wildlife crime can occur anywhere from rural areas, to urban areas and even in people’s homes.  


Specialist Area

Wildlife crime law enforcement is a specialist area of policing, often requiring assistance from people working outside the police service.  Launched in 1995, the Partnership for Action against Wildlife crime, known as PAW, was established as a multi-agency partnership to combat wildlife crime. It is jointly chaired by the police and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and comprises key government departments and agencies, conservation organisations, game-keeping groups and landowning interests. 


PAW provides support for the networks of Police Wildlife Crime Officers and Customs Officers.  It facilitates the exchange of information, experience, specialist knowledge and expertise on wildlife enforcement related topics between all the agencies involved in this area of law enforcement.  For more details please go to Web Link www.defra.gov.uk/paw.


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Rural crime