As a result of the the previous blog about the poisoned Buzzard in the Longdendale Valley the raptor group and Mark Thomas the Head of RSPB Investigations went to see the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
We were assured during the meeting that Derbyshire Police were keen to work with us on the issue of raptor persecution. We made it clear that we had some concerns regarding the way this case and the previous poisoning incident in this area had been handled, without any publicity from Derbyshire Police.
We shared this letter from Natural England’s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme with the Police and Crime Commissioner and explained that it is at odds with the message being sent out by the Rural Crime team.
However, tonight we saw the following post on the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team facebook https://www.facebook.com/ruralcrimeteam/photos/a.1924511090909080/3350766671616841/
We contacted the Rural Crime Team and asked them to discuss the post with us, they refused. We then contacted the DRCT coordinator and requested a correction or at very least the removal of the post on the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team Facebook page. It is clear that public displays like this are not conducive to working together and we agree, Derbyshire Police must concede that this situation could easily have been avoided by removal of the post (we would have preferred a correction) but both were refused.
We have tonight sent this Open Letter to The Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, our comments are included in bold alongside the statements made in the post.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to Mark Thomas and myself last week.
I was somewhat surprised to see this tonight https://www.facebook.com/ruralcrimeteam/photos/a.1924511090909080/3350766671616841/
Unfortunately we feel it leaves me no choice but to respond publicly, this isn’t helping us moving forwards. It basically says we are lying about the findings from Natural England with regards to the poisoned Buzzard (the letter we shared with you at the meeting).
Below is the post from DRCT and our responses.
It has been brought to our attention that there have been social media posts relating to the suspicious death of a buzzard located in Derbyshire in April 2019 where poisonous substances were involved.
We can confirm that Derbyshire Constabulary has investigated this matter, which has unfortunately not resulted in any witnesses or suspects being identified. (It won’t Derbyshire Police haven’t made any appeal for information)
We understand that there have been concerns around the investigation and the potential risk to public health due to the alleged use of toxic chemicals. (Yes it was in a public place where people walk dogs with their families)
The Natural England, Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) have carried out post mortem and toxicology tests, which concluded the bird died of poisoning. (and the remains of a poisoned bait)
There are too many unknown variables to conclusively say that the buzzard has been poisoned deliberately. All that can conclusively be said is that the buzzard has died as a result of ingesting poison. Its death has been recorded as suspicious. (There is plenty of evidence, as per the letter from NE that I shared with you)
The buzzard carcass and trace of poison – Natural England stated the Buzzard died as the result of the deliberate and illegal use of a high concentration of chloralose on a partridge bait were not found on land associated with gamebird management. (No but they were approximately 150 m from a Pheasant shoot and 1500 m from a Grouse moor)
Please let us reassure, that when Derbyshire Constabulary receive a report of any criminality it will be investigated robustly. Whether that report is made at the time of the offence or at a later date.
Can I also assure you that if any risk to public health arose, Derbyshire Constabulary would take the appropriate steps and work with partner agencies to mitigate any risk and protect the public (2 Poisonings in that area one involving at least 15 birds (2015) and now this poisoning both with Alpha chloralose and no information shared with the public about it).
Derbyshire Constabulary take all forms of criminality seriously, and wildlife crime is no exception.
To this end we have trained and dedicated a team of Police officers, in the Rural Crime Team to specifically deal with rural and wildlife crime.
If you have information of Raptor persecution in Derbyshire, please get in touch with the team DRCT@derbyshire.police.uk