In Britain the responsibility for enforcement of the laws protecting our wildlife rests with the police service. However, many different offences are committed against wildlife in this country every year, and this is what we mean by wildlife crime.
It is easy to think of wildlife crime as being something that happens in the countryside, and many people do not associate it 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, of course the cockney sparrows. Some of these do become victims of wildlife crime, but much of the work of the Wildlife Crime Unit concerns wildlife which lives elsewhere in Britain, or in other countries and which is the subject of crimes committed by people in London.
For example, some London people travel to other parts of Britain to take the eggs of rare birds, or even the birds themselves, which do not live here, and endangered species in other countries are killed to supply wildlife products which 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 taking 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 Met’s Specialist Crime Directorate, and is made up of a small team of specialist police and civilian 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 using the details on the right-hand side. You can also report crime anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Protecting British Wildlife
Publications & Exhibitions
The Wildlife Crime Unit publishes information on a range of wildlife crime issues, and also takes part in public exhibitions, where seized items are displayed.
Operation Charm is a partnership initiative against the illegal trade in endangered species in London. We are working closely with our partners to tackle this trade using a combination of crime prevention, public awareness and enforcement.