Multi-agency initiative launched to pursue those who target birds of prey

Representatives from partner agencies from Forest Service, NI Raptor Study Group, RSPB, Ulster Wildlife, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and PSNI
Representatives from partner agencies from Forest Service, NI Raptor Study Group, RSPB, Ulster Wildlife, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and PSNI

Those who seek to kill birds of prey (raptors) are being targeted as part of a campaign to halt any illegal practices which may include poisoning, shooting and trapping.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in partnership with the PAW NI Raptor Subgroup, comprising the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute, Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland,  National Wildlife Crime Unit, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group and Royal Society for Protection of Birds, have launched a new initiative, called ‘Operation Raptor’, to encourage reporting of suspected crimes against birds of prey and to put a stop to poisoning, shooting and trapping of birds of prey in Northern Ireland.

“This campaign is a direct result of the Partnership for Action Against (PAW) Wildlife Crime bird of prey persecution and poisoning report released in November 2015 and this campaign is designed to encourage people to report to PSNI and also to warn offenders they could face a prosecution and fine (up to £5,000) if they are caught targeting birds of prey through poisoning, shooting or trapping.”

Emma Meredith, PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer

The Operation Raptor initiative was launched during the annual Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group conference on Saturday 5th March at the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Oxford Island.

Speaking about ‘Operation Raptor’, PSNI Wildlife Liaison Officer, Emma Meredith said: “This campaign is a direct result of the Partnership for Action Against (PAW) Wildlife Crime bird of prey persecution and poisoning report released in November 2015 and this campaign is designed to encourage people to report to PSNI and also to warn offenders they could face a prosecution and fine (up to £5,000) if they are caught targeting birds of prey through poisoning, shooting or trapping. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is committed to working with partner agencies to tackle wildlife crime through prevention as well as enforcement, and will continue to work hard to combat wildlife crime.

“The poster will be distributed into local hot spot areas known to the PAW partners and it is a generic poster which can be used as and when a hot spot area becomes known anywhere throughout Northern Ireland. PSNI are very thankful to have the partner agencies working closely together to combat this type of wildlife crime.”

If anyone has any information please contact 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Chief Inspector Martin Simms, the Head of Unit for the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “The NWCU welcomes the Operation Raptor initiative for Northern Ireland. Focused work to tackle these horrible crimes in hot-spot areas seems to be a logical step forward, as exemplified in Operation Raptor. This reflects the approach in the rest of the United Kingdom where ‘hot-spot counties’ have been identified so action can be targeted for a more effective use of resources. Such impactive posters as Operation Raptor will hopefully make people understand the effect of these crimes and the suffering that is caused to such beautiful animals. I hope it will encourage people to report such wildlife crime.”