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National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) safe for another year
Posted 29 January 2013
Defra has announced that the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), which faced closure under government cuts, has had its funding secured for another year. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and wrote to their MPs about this important matter.
In the announcement, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:
‘Wildlife crime is a very serious issue with organised gangs using the proceeds from illegally traded items like rhino horn to fuel other illegal activities. It’s right that a specialist unit supports the police in bringing these people to trial. The funding for another year will mean the unit can continue to bring criminals to justice and tackle the illegal wildlife trade both at home and abroad.’
The press release also notes that Defra funds £136,000 of the NWCU budget and that the Home Office will match Defra funding with a further £136,000.
Writing in The Independent, Michael McCarthy remarked, ‘Mr Benyon, who has not gone uncriticised, shall we say, in these pages, won the Whitehall battle to persuade a reluctant Home Office to stump up its share of the funding.’
We hope however that the focus on rhino horns in the statement by the Minister – who is an avid hunt and shoot supporter – does not mean there will be minimum resources devoted to preventing the persecution of domestic wildlife.