Posted on Wednesday 23 November 2022
Durham Constabulary has issued one of the first Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) as part of a nine-force crackdown on rural crime.
Launched earlier this month, the joint strike sees cross-border poachers targeted with the legislation along with Community Protection Notices (CPNs) to target transient criminals who have previously targeted different force areas to avoid prosecution.
Durham has been using the legislation for around a year already under the banner Operation Hawkeye, but this scheme sees all forces involved acting as one.
The CPWs and CPNs help officers deal with those suspected of committing rural and wildlife crime instead of relying on the more traditional poaching and trespass legislation which can be difficult to prove in a court of law.
Before this, if someone committed an offence in one force area and then travelled to a different county to carry out a second offence, both cases would have been heard in isolation.
The move also gives police and the courts significantly greater powers to combat and prosecute serial cross-border criminals who breach their CPN conditions repeatedly.
The scheme was launched on November 10 and with the force’s first CPW being issued just four days later for an offence believed to have been committed at around 8pm on November 7.
Issued by Durham Constabulary’s Rural and Wildlife Crime Officer, PC Dave Williamson, the male suspect was handed the CPW after being caught in a vehicle with dogs in Selaby.
He will now be flagged to all nine forces and if caught again will be issued a CPN which can incur a fine of up to £2,500.
PC Williamson said: “CPWs and CPNs have worked really well over the last year or so we have been using them but having all nine forces acting as one will revolutionise how we deal with the problem of wildlife and agricultural crime so it’s great to see what we think is the first one issued.
“With the ongoing support we receive from our 1,500 Rural Watch members, we hope the message will get out to those thinking of targeting our rural communities that they are not welcome.”
Forces taking part alongside Durham are: Northumbria Police, Cleveland Police, Cumbria Constabulary, Humberside Police, North Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Police and Lancashire Police.
For more information about Rural Watch and how to join,visit www.durham.police.uk/Advice-Centre/Wildlife-and-Rural-Crime/Wildlife-rural-crime.aspx