Down District Councillor Cadogan Enright organised a meeting of almost all local Environmental groups with the Down District Policing partnership to discuss fears that Wildlife crime is not being investigated properly in Down District.
Cllr Cadogan Enright said that “having received a large number of complaints from people who felt that the PSNI was either not recording, or not investigating wildlife crime, I asked local environmental group leaders to record specific instances, dates and what happened to them. I then invited them to meet the DPP’s police monitoring group and go though a detailed list of examples where local peoples complaints were either ignored or not investigated properly.”
Keith Bradford of Downpatrick Friends of the Earth said “there was a very big turnout at the meeting, and the Lecale Environmentalists group in particular provided a large group of articulate intelligent people who were well able to explain what had happened to them and their complaints. I myself was able to relate how I had complained about badger baiting in Downpatrick police station, and never had any follow up on the incident”.
Cadogan Enright said “The Lecale environmentalists told the police monitoring group how in some instances they had phoned in complaints and not received an incident number, and in other cases where they knew enough to demand an incident number from the PSNI switchboard, no follow up action was taken. Only the most determined well-connected environmentalists in Lecale seem to get any reaction from the police. My feeling is if that these seasoned campaigners cannot get the police to take them seriously, ordinary members of the public have no chance.”
Cllr Enright said “I myself was able to relate how a complaint I had made about poisoning of seals and cormorants at Downpatrick police station was never followed up, and others had similar stories to tell.”
Agnes Peacocke representing Lecale environmentalists said “the DPP were very helpful and advised us on how we should go about making a complaint to the Ombudsman, and undertook to pursue our complaints with the PSNI directly. They also supported our call for a named police officer in each police district to have specific responsibility for wildlife crime, for wildlife crime statistics to be published and for the PSNI to issue a leaflet defining what is wildlife crime, how to report it and what the PSNI will do about it.”