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A new angle on fishing enforcement

June 6, 2021 11:01 PM
By Wilts Police
Originally published by Trevor Carbin Liberal Democrat

Wiltshire Police is believed to be the first force in the country to designate their Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) with the power to request a rod licence from people who are fishing.

PCSOs are a vital part of the neighbourhood element of the Community Policing Team model in Wiltshire. A number of them, alongside some of the Police Officers and Local Crime Investigators, are already trained as Wildlife Crime Officers, working closely with the Rural Crime Team to support rural communities and to disrupt criminal activity that targets these areas.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard stated: "Within Wiltshire, our Rural Crime Team is one of the only teams nationally to submit 'disruption reports' relating to Organised Crime Gangs, recognising that offences such as hare coursing and poaching are often entwined with their other criminal behaviours. I am immensely proud of the targeted work they are undertaking and the outcomes that they are achieving."

"Legislation changes over the last few years have enabled Chief Constables to be more creative with the 'policing powers' that they can designate to their Police Staff working in roles such as a PCSO. This allows us to better respond to new or emerging threats to society. I am pleased that this power, which is normally only something that Police Officers can do, can now also be granted to PCSOs."

"Rather than just accompanying the water bailiffs on their patrols, this change in power will now allow our PCSOs to actively work alongside them to tackle illegal fishing activity. This further highlights our commitment to partnership working and to extend our disruption abilities to this additional area of the community."

If you believe you are witnessing illegal fishing in progress dial 999, Call 101 to report an incident after it has happened.