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Suffolk: Force appoints dedicated wildlife officer

PUBLISHED: 09:53 01 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:53 01 February 2013

The police tractor

The police tractor

Archant

SUFFOLK Police has responded to a spike in rural crimes such as hare coursing and poaching by dedicating an officer specifically to deal with wildlife issues.

While in recent weeks conservationists across the UK have been fighting to save a National Wildlife Crime Unit at risk from Government funding cuts, the Suffolk force has recognised the need for a specialist officer to curb the growing number of rural crimes.

The appointment of Pc Mark Bryant – a recognised expert in hare coursing and hunting law – to the role came after the EADT highlighted the case of a farmer who was struck on his land in Hitcham by illegal hare coursers when he confronted them.

In addition, from the end of June, a module relating to rural and wildlife crime will be added to new police officers’ training.

And last night Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore told the EADT the likely new chief constable Douglas Paxton was well aware of the issues facing rural communities.

“Mr Paxton has a good knowledge of Suffolk, having worked here for a few years in the past, so he understands the county is very keen to make sure rural areas get just as much attention as urban areas, which is very important,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard on reducing crime in Ipswich and Lowestoft so we must do the same in rural areas.”

Pc Bryant said: “Wildlife crime is not a No 1 priority for some people so it is great to see that Suffolk Police have recognised the need to take this seriously and are willing to put in the necessary resources.

“So far the role has been frantic because there has been a rise in crimes such as hare coursing. There is also the issue of deer being poached because of the rising price of meat.”

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