Special Sergeant Oliver Woodrow and Special Constable Michael Davies, who are part of the Rural Task Force, have increased the number of qualified wildlife crime officers in Kent Police to 16 after successfully completing the one-week course.
Special Sergeant Woodrow has volunteered his time with the Kent Police Special Constabulary for 23 years, initially joining with the intention of becoming a Police Constable, however after joining the force as police staff he decided to have the best of both worlds and remain a Special Constable. He has now worked with the Rural Task Force for a year and has enjoyed the proactive nature of the team, he said:
‘The rural community makes up a large section of our county, they have specific types of problems as well as suffering the same crime as more urban areas such as thefts, burglaries and domestic abuse. We also carry out joint warrants with the RSPCA to close down puppy farms, where offenders run cruel enterprises to fund lavish lifestyles and other criminal activities.
The rural special constables spend a lot of their time on proactive high-visibility patrols and liaise with farmers, gamekeepers, rural homeowners. They also operate joint patrols with the Environment Agency, tackling fishing-related offences under Operation Traverse. Despite the perceived low threat of fish poaching some large carp can be worth up to £5,000 each, that makes them of interest to criminals.