Frontline Wildlife Crime Unit could face axe from Defra and Home Office in Government cuts
Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart is backing a campaign by World Animal Protection in their campaign to save one of the world’s leading police departments – the National Wildlife Crime Unit. At an event in Parliament this week, Fiona pledged to do all she can to stop the unit from being axed by the Government.
The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is dedicated to supporting wildlife crime investigations and is fundamental to providing and analysing national wildlife crime intelligence across the UK. UK wildlife is targeted for profit and entertainment, including rare bird egg theft, illegal deer poaching and indiscriminate cruelty to wild animals.
Following the Spending Review the future of the unit is under threat. Ministers have confirmed a decision, either way, will be made by the end of January, meaning in only a matter of weeks their work could face complete collapse.
Fiona said, “Ministers rightly praise the work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit in tackling wild animal crime but they don’t commit to funding it. Year after year, I am contacted by constituents who are concerned about the future of the unit with no solid long term plans put in place. I will carry on pushing to prevent cruelty to animals, including by backing the National Wildlife Crime Unit in the great work it does.”
Head of Public Affairs at World Animal Protection, Josh Kaile, said: “The Government has made much of their £13 million package to combat the illegal wildlife trade internationally. The National Wildlife Crime Unit only requires a fraction of this budget every year, with Defra and the Home Office currently paying £136k each. This continues to be a small amount to pay for such a vital unit, particularly in contrast to the millions being spent on global projects.”
“Police forces up and down the UK rely on the specialist knowledge of the NWCU in order to tackle wildlife criminals. It is time for the UK Government to step up and save the National Wildlife Crime Unit”