Jul 13, 2012
The BBC has interviewed the London Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) alongside Simon Pope, WSPA UK Director of Campaigns and Communications on the sometimes confusing and murky world of wildlife crime law in the UK.
Simon said that ‘confusion in the laws and inconsistent sentencing has helped make London a global hub for the trade in threatened species’, adding that ‘criminals have seen this and made good use of it. The problem is that this is still perceived as a niche activity.’
WSPA is battling the illegal wildlife trade as a global priority, with recent studies suggesting that illegal wildlife trade is valued at between 7.8 and 10 billion US dollars each year with links to drugs cartels, organised crime, and even terrorism.
WSPA and the WCU are working together to ensure a future for wildlife crime investigation in London. After a funding and staffing shortfall led to concerns last year that the WCU was under threat, WSPA stepped in to fund the unit.
The groundbreaking partnership is allowing the unit to continue their vital policing work, grow their team and invest in operational needs such as more training for borough police officers and intelligence gathering.
However, WSPA is also calling for non-charity funding to allow officers to use and develop their specialist skills and knowledge to tackle criminality more effectively, bring criminals to justice and make London safer.
We have been running our Cruelty in a Concrete Jungle campaign this year, to safeguard the future of the WCU.
During the mayoral race all the candidates apart from Boris Johnson pledged to secure the future of the Metropolitan Police Service’s Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) if elected. We will keep talking to Boris to make sure animals are on his agenda when he sets his budget later this year.
If you are based in London and want to join us in this campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.