Welcome News for the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit
We’ve learnt today that the UK Government will continue funding the UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit.
Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon, announced at the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime Conference that both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Home Office would continue to fund the highly specialised police unit.
This is a very welcome announcement, especially in the current climate of spending cuts across Government. Until now, Government Ministers had been unable to confirm future funding of the NWCU past the end of this month.
The NWCU has a strong record in combating both domestic and international wildlife crime, including the world’s largest seizure of rhino horn, valued at several million pounds.
In 2009 alone its work led to twice as many convictions for wildlife crime as the previous year, and over £400,000 worth of assets were seized. The NWCU’s intelligence network has also helped to uncover serious organised crime networks in the UK.
Today’s decision shows the Government’s commitment to a unique and highly effective service that protects wildlife in this country and beyond. There can be no doubt that the continued work of this unit will save the lives of animals that would otherwise be slaughtered to service an illegal and cruel trade in wildlife products.
IFAW supporters across the UK had written in their thousands to the Government calling for protection for funding of the NWCU so we’re delighted by the announcement. It is really pleasing to see that even in tough economic times, governments are willing to invest in the protection of wildlife. It takes only a small amount of money to fund the unit but it goes a long way in helping fight illegal wildlife trade.
For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare efforts to save animals in crisis in and around the United Kingdom, visit http://www.ifaw.co.uk