While poaching is a crime, thousands of cases go unreported, largely because few believe the police would take it seriously, despite potential fines of several thousand pounds.
The amount of under-reporting of poaching and other rural crime means that it is important that anyone living in, working in or simply visiting the countryside reports all incidents.
- If you see or are aware of poachers on your, or anyone else’s land, call the police.
- If you are being threatened or damage is being caused, or if you believe there is a danger to the public, then it is urgent and 999 should be used.
Otherwise, use the 101 non-emergency number to report incidents.
- Give the call taker as much information as you have, such as vehicles used, how many offenders, do they have firearms, etc.
- Give the best description of the location as you can, especially at night.
- The most important thing is to get an incident or log number for what you are reporting.
- You may be told that there is nobody to send immediately, but insist on the incident/log number.
- Ask for the incident to be forwarded to the Wildlife Crime Officer and the local beat officer. It is a good idea to do this whether police attend or not.
- Tell the call taker that this is a wildlife crime and needs to be recorded as such. This makes it easier to monitor the number of poaching offences and, hence, the true picture will emerge.
To report a rural crime contact your neighbourhood policing team or specialist wildlife crime police officer. For more information visit www.gov.uk/report-crime-anti-social-behaviour
You can also contact Crimestoppers to report a crime anonymously and they will pass the information on to the police. Visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org or call 0800 555111.
The British Deer Society campaigns against poaching and rural crime. More information can be found on our Campaigns page.