Rural and Wildlife Crime lead, Sergeant Brian Calver: ‘We try and focus on high harm’
As part of a week’s filming for PolicingTV with Suffolk Constabulary, Sergeant Brian Calver, the force’s lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime, met PolicingTV’s Founder and Publisher, Bernard Rix.
With filming taking place in one of Suffolk’s many beautiful wooded areas, Sergeant Calver explains that he leads a team of four officers (the Sergeant, plus three police constables) who have primary responsibility for the force’s work in tackling rural and wildlife crime.
The first area of rural crime that Brian covers is theft of plant and machinery, primarily from farms in rural locations. “The very nature of the county, a lot of the places that have the machinery and plant are in very remote areas. The access roads aren’t that busy, if people are committing the crime by night, the chances of being seen are very slim… When farmers suffer loss of equipment… that can have a substantial impact on their ability to carry out their farming operations”. Brian sets out some of the prevention, deterrence, investigation and recovery approaches that the force adopts.
Next, Sergeant Calver talks about wildlife crime. “We try and focus on the high harm stuff… poaching – hare poaching, deer poaching, fish poaching – bird of prey persecution, badger persecution, bat crime. The most common ones we get in Suffolk are generally badger persecution… and bird of prey crime”.
Then on to metal detectorists. “East Anglia is known as a hotspot for being targeted by night hawkers – illegal metal detectorists… We had a successful arrest last year, four people arrested. They’ve just been convicted and sentenced at court only a couple of weeks ago”.
Brian concludes with comments about the detailed expertise that his team of four seeks to share with other officers, both within Suffolk Constabulary and more widely. “Wildlife legislation is known for being an absolute minefield… There’s no better way of learning than putting it in to practice, officers often come to us for advice on these matters. The biggest piece of legislation that I try to encourage officers to get their head round is the Animal Welfare Act”.
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