Net closes in on poachers and fish thieves
The Angling Trust has secured an important breakthrough in the war against poachers and fish thieves.
Now all 132,000 police officers in England and Wales will have web access to fisheries enforcement guidance and the law on POLKA - the national Police On-Line Knowledge Area.
Officers in the 43 forces in England and Wales routinely refer to POLKA when they encounter incidents and offences beyond routine beat policing.
POLKA will now include the Angling Trust produced Elementary Guide to Angling Law and Fishery Enforcement which has been endorsed by the police National Wildlife Crime Unit.
It explains to police how fishery enforcement works and details how both poaching, which carries a maximum fine of £5,000, and fish theft from enclosed waters are mattersfor the police.
While anglers have become increasingly angry about both problems, police have lacked guidance on the action they can and should take.
This Angling Trust guide to the law will also be used by wildlife crime officers to brief colleagues in individual forces.
The Trust's Fishery Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar, himself a former police officer, said: "This is a really important step forward in educating the police. It will be of special interest to anglers in the South East where the Trust and the Environment Agency are piloting the Voluntary Bailiff Scheme to put more trained eyes and ears on the banks.
The Trust urges water keepers and individual anglers to report incidents to local police but also phone the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 to keep them in the picture."
The Angling Trust together with the Environment Agency has also produced an 'impact statement' on poaching and fish theft - explaining why the offences are serious. It will be used as guidance by the police National Wildlife Crime Unit and by the courts in determining sentences.