Lib Dems Deliver: wildlife crime unit saved from extinction

The Liberal Democrats have claimed credit for the government U-turn over plans to axe the Wildlife Crime Unit. The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) was established in 2006 to investigate offences including rare-bird egg theft, deer poaching, trade of endangered species, hare coursing, illegal taxidermy and cruelty to wild animals.

The funding was set to run out today.  At the 11th hour after Liberal Democrat pressure the government have today announced the National Wildlife Crime Unit will have funding secured up to March 2020.

The 12-strong team supports the UK’s police forces in tackling crimes such as badger baiting, poaching and the theft of rare birds’ eggs.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “The government have finally relented and seen sense. The work that the NWCU does combating these crimes is vital. It also tackles important domestic issues such a persecution of birds of prey.

“With the specialised expertise it has build up over a decade, I believed that it is essential we maintain this unit in its entirety. I am delighted that we have been able to secure this funding today but it should not have had to come to this.

“The government have promised to protect the police but this whole saga shows that their words and their deeds do not match up. They have to be pushed into funding the unit

“It’s very much a world-leading police unit of its kind.”