The Independent Police Complaints Commission has upheld a complaint by the National Anti-Snaring Campaign (NASC) that West Yorkshire Police’s Wildlife Officer failed to investigate a badger snaring incident on the Queen’s cousins estate.
In August 2008 the NASC received reports that a dog had been snared on the Harewood estate, which is the home of the Queen’s cousin, the Earl of Harewood. In September 2008 a member of the public and the NASC reported another incident to police when a dead badger was found next to snares on the same estate.
Despite repeated requests to the Police Wildlife Officer, PC Sally Smart, that the incident be investigated, no action was taken until a complaint was made to the Chief Constable. PC Smart finally visited the estate in December 2008, three months after the incident, by which time the snares and badger had been removed.
The NASC complained to West Yorkshire Police but the complaint was rejected by Investigating Officer Inspector Marcus Griffiths who concluded the complaint related to “policy” and not against PC Smart and no action was taken.
As a result the NASC reported the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission who upheld the complaint that “PC Smart had failed in her duties to investigate the report of a crime,” and that Inspector Martin Griffiths “failed to ensure the matter was investigated expediently” and “maintain adequate lines of communication.”
Both officers are being “advised” about their conduct and an apology has been given by West Yorkshire Police Professional Standards department regarding the “poor level of service received.”
A spokesman for the National Anti Snaring campaign said: “All too often wildlife crime is treated by the police as a matter they do not need to bother with as the victims cannot complain.
“However, we are pleased that the Independent Police Complaints Authority has shown its value and prevented what would have been a whitewash by West Yorkshire Police. Unfortunately some Wildlife Officer’s see their role as protecting shooting interests rather than protecting wildlife.”