Project Trespass is a new initiative to provide a coordinated response to poaching was launched on 1st October 2013 by the England and Wales Poaching Priority Delivery Group, which includes the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) in its membership.
The NWCU said:
“Poaching is a criminal activity – all poachers are trespassers and analysis by the NWCU over the past two years shows that given an opportunity poachers have diversified into thefts, burglaries, assaults and other rural crimes. Many police forces are developing rural crime strategies where the tackling of all wildlife crime and particularly poaching is a priority. Project Trespass will help in the effort to coordinate intelligence and responses to reports of crime.”
Project Trespass aims to coordinate action across England and Wales through:
Prevention – Offering best advice to farmers, landowners, gamekeepers, shooting and land management organisations regarding measures to put in place to prevent poaching and disruption mechanisms.
Intelligence – To allow the police to target offenders
Enforcement – With good intelligence the police can target poachers through the various rural and poaching based operations run throughout England and Wales
Reassurance – By working together and by publicising actions such as activity, arrests, seizures and convictions.
There are six UK wildlife crime priorities for the NWCU, one of which is poaching. Each priority has a delivery group headed by a plan owner. There are two separate groups, one covering England and Wales and the other Scotland. The plan owner for Project Trespass is Glynn Evans for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
Within this group are representatives of major countryside organisations, each of whom has real knowledge and experience of poaching and other rural crime from their own perspective. They represent a diverse range of countryside users including landowners, farmers, gamekeepers, shooters and anglers. The group includes, the NGO, CA, CLA, Angling Trust, Food Standards Agency, EA, The Deer Initiative CEFAS and the BDS.
These organisations and the people they represent are not only those who are most likely to be affected by poaching and the criminality which goes hand in hand with it but are also the people who are most likely to be able to assist the Police and other law enforcers such as the Environment Agency in tackling poaching.
Within the poaching priority group we also have not only the expertise of the NWCU but also serving Police officers and law enforcers with specialist knowledge of wildlife and rural crime.
Project Trespass is not a standalone police operation. It is an add-on to rural policing operations within a force area used to gather intelligence on those committing these offences. It is also about raising awareness with the public about reporting this type of activity.
Anybody reporting a poaching offence should call the police on 101 or 999 (if serious damage or threats are being made). Tell the operator the location, how many people are involved, exactly what they are doing and any vehicles being used. (Remember a call taker may not know what “lamping” is). Point out that this is wildlife crime and should be reported as such. Even if there are no patrols to send, ask for the incident or log number and that it be forwarded to the local beat officer and wildlife crime officer.
Poaching is not yet a recordable crime for the purpose of Home Office statistics, so the true problem is worse than currently reported. It is important to remember that poachers are often involved with other types of rural crime.