(In Northern Ireland every police officer acts as a ‘wildlife’ officer. They have a central point of contact within the PSNI, the ‘Wildlife Liaison Officer’, who provides officers with advice and training whenever and wherever required. This ever-changing and demanding role is instrumental in the communication between wildlife conservation groups in Northern Ireland and the PSNI, including in the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime NI.)
My name is Emma Meredith and I am the Wildlife Liaison Officer (WLO) for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The role I carry out is to be the central point of contact within the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and offer advice, support and guidance to all police officers and police staff investigating wildlife crime or animal welfare concerns. I also provide a pivotal role between external organisations and internal policing and liaise accordingly. I am based within District Policing Command in Police Headquarters, Belfast and I am managed by PSNI Superintendent lead for rural and wildlife crime, Superintendent Kee.
My role is a specialist role and part of the role is to raise awareness of wildlife and animal welfare issues within the PSNI. It is also important within the role to liaise with various external agencies and work together to try and combat wildlife crime such as shooting, trapping, poisoning and even selling birds of prey.
The PAW NI group as a whole, and all the sub groups including the Raptor Persecution sub group, are carrying out some amazing work and it really helps the PSNI as we can not combat this type of crime alone.
There have been many initiatives to try and combat bird of prey crime over the last number of years including; Operation Raptor, Operation Peregrine Watch (where PSNI use drones to protect Peregrine Falcons in quarries, and for which the group won the WWF Wildlife Crime Operation of the Year Award for that initiative) and more recently I am delighted to contribute to ‘Hawk-Eyes’.
I would encourage members of the public to report suspected wildlife crime to their local station on 101 or crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The PSNI website provides further information on reporting crime and other activities. https://www.psni.police.uk/advice_information/animal-welfare/animal-welfare-and-wildlife-crime/
The Watch out for Wildlife Crime website is https://www.wildlifecrimeni.org/
Remember – A crime is a crime!!!