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Wildlife Crime Conference Deemed A Success

A conference on wildlife crime held by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police has been deemed a success.

People from across Warwickshire and West Mercia gathered on Tuesday 3 February to discuss new measures to reduce and prevent wildlife and rural crime within the force area.

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, as well as representatives from Rural Watch, the Bat Conservation Trust and the National Wildlife Crime Unit, spoke at the event, giving an overview of local issues and unveiling a range of innovative projects aimed at combating wildlife and rural crime in the region.

The invitation-only event, which was held at Hindlip Hall in Worcester, was an opportunity for those concerned with fighting wildlife and rural crime in Warwickshire and West Mercia to hear about a variety of new projects aimed at crime reduction. Informed speakers gave an overview of the current picture within the area and discussed how rural communities can protect themselves and work effectively in partnership to tackle wildlife crime. Representatives from the RSPCA and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, as well as police officers and staff of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police were among the attendees.

A range of guest speakers offered engaging and interesting presentations at the event, including Ian Guildford from the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Carol Cotterill of Rural Watch and Warwickshire Horse Watch, Bat Conservation Trust's Pete Charleston and Dilip Sarkar from the Angling Trust. Craig Fellowes from our Wildlife Training Consultancy then brought the conference to a close by discussing the future of wildlife crime.

Sergeant Allie Webster, of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police's Rural and Business Crime Project, said: "Holding this conference was extremely important as rural and wildlife crime can have a devastating impact on farmers, small businesses and communities.  

"Police officers and staff who were fortunate enough to attend the event on Tuesday found the conference very useful, insightful and inspiring. They are now even more equipped and prepared to tackle wildlife crime, as well as be there to support those who have unfortunately become victims of rural based crimes.

"Overall, the conference was a great success. Delegates were fired up for the event which was both enjoyable and beneficial, as initiatives, ideas and actions discussed will be considered and delivered upon."

The conference came after the national police lead for rural and business crime, Chief Constable Simon Prince of Dyfed-Powys Police, pledged to tackle poaching and wildlife crime across England and Wales. Tuesday's event demonstrated the determination Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police have in raising awareness and proactively dealing with such crime.

Police and Crime Commissioner of West Mercia Police, Bill Longmore, has spoken about his commitment to the cause by funding £1million each year towards rural, business and cyber crime.

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, said: "I was delighted to take part in this wildlife crime conference, which indicates our progress with how we work in partnership with farmers and rural communities.  

"The alliance of Warwickshire and West Mercia makes us the largest geographically land-locked policing area in the country, with many parts being very rural, so it is only natural that we should focus on rural and wildlife crime.

"With Chief Officers and the Police and Crime Commissioner's commitment to rural crime being delivered over the coming financial years, I am confident that we can drive down such crime in our area."

Live tweeting took place from the Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police Twitter accounts throughout the day. Visit www.twitter.com/warkspolice and www.twitter.com/wmerciapolice to catch up on the tweets.

Issued: 9am on Thursday 5 February

Published 05/02/15