In Britain the responsibility for enforcement of the laws protecting our wildlife rests with the police. However, many different offences are committed against wildlife in this country every year. It is easy to think of wildlife crime as being something that happens in the countryside and many people do not associate this type of crime with London. However, the London area is home to a wide range of wild species, including many which are protected in law. Rare species like peregrine falcons, black redstarts, dormice and stag beetles are resident here and share the capital with the more often seen foxes and pigeons. Some of these do become victims of wildlife crime, but much of the work of the Wildlife Crime Unit concerns wildlife that lives elsewhere in Britain, or in other countries that is the subject of crimes committed by people in London.
For example, some London residents travel to other parts of Britain to take the eggs of rare birds, or even the birds themselves, which do not ordinarily live here, and endangered species in other countries are killed to supply wildlife products that are in demand in London.
So any species, from anywhere in the world, can turn up in London in one form or another. The Wildlife Crime Unit is responsible for enforcement of wildlife laws within the London area, and for implementing initiatives to prevent wildlife crime. The unit also provides specialist support and assistance to police officers all over London, and works in partnership with many other agencies, both government and non-government, in Britain and internationally, as well as providing a focal point for enquiries from the public.
The unit is part of the Mets SCO Intelligence Development (SCOID) and is made up of a small team of specialist police and police staff who have been appointed for their expertise and experience in wildlife matters. The Metropolitan Police Service is committed to enforcing the laws protecting wildlife. If you know of anybody involved in crimes against wildlife, or simply wish to know more about our work, please contact the Wildlife Crime Unit - see related contacts. You can also report crime anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.