To date, anglers have been frustrated when reporting to the police criminal offences connected with poaching and fish theft due to confusion arising from call-takers and operational police officers receiving no training in this area of their duty and responsibilities.
For some time, retired police officer and Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar, has been working to address this issue with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and individual forces. Recently, however, a major step forward has been achieved, which will in time, entirely resolve the matter - thanks to the support of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
ACPO comprises Chief Officers and in response to the evidence presented to him by Dilip Sarkar, the National Lead of Rural & Wildlife Crime, Mr Simon Prince, Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys, said:
"As fish poaching can happen at any time and anywhere, I agree that there needs to be a greater awareness within the police service of the legislation that can be used to combat the problem. I have therefore caused a briefing note to be created and distributed to all Chief Officers in England & Wales, to be cascaded down to call-taking staff and operational police officers. That, together with the work the Angling Trust has been carrying out with our network of Wildlife Crime Officers, will hopefully achieve the outcome that we all desire".
Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar said:
"This is a massive step forward, which will bring an end to what has been an unacceptable scenario. We understand, of course, that an omission in training has been the cause - but this will now be addressed. We are, however, entirely supportive of the problems faced by the police today, and share ACPO's desire to work in partnership. We are extremely grateful to Mr Prince in particular, and to the National Wildlife Crime Unit, for essential and ongoing understanding and support - which ultimately means poachers will increasingly find themselves with criminal records and prosecuted".