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Fisheries Enforcement Support Service
submits nearly 130 reports in 5 months
Nearly 130 reports of suspected fisheries crime, illegal fishing or other
incidents have been submitted to
the Environment Agency by the
Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service (FESS) in the
past five months.
It follows the setting up in June of
a legitimate and formal system to
record and share incoming information with partners.
Modern policing and enforcement
relies upon incoming intelligence –
processed and useful information
from various sources – to enable the
efficient and effective deployment of
resources. Intelligence, and incoming incident and information reports,
also capture the extent of a problem
and provides evidence for any argument for a greater priority and allocation of more resources.
The FESS is funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence
income and includes the Voluntary
Bailiff Service (VBS), which was
formed to support the Agency and
police in the hard job of enforcing
fishing licence compliance and protecting fish and fisheries. With nearly
500 trained Volunteer Bailiffs across
England reporting incidents and
information to a high evidential
standard, it was necessary to establish a legitimate and formal system
to record and share incoming information with partners.
Former West Mercia Police Detective Inspector Gary Thomas was
appointed as the FESS’s first Intelligence Manager earlier this year and
has since set up those systems and
arranged an Information Sharing
Agreement with the UK National
Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) which
went ‘live’ on June 1st.
To date:
• The FESS has submitted 129 information reports since the start of
June. All but eight have been suitable for submission to the Environment Agency Intelligence Unit
as either an information report or
an intelligence log.
• Of the 129 reports, 81 (63%) have
been converted into ‘5x5x5’ intelligence reports [used by police to
evaluate the information] and also
forwarded to NWCU, and appropriate police forces.
• Of the 129 reports, 67 (52%) have
come from the VBS; the other 48%
are from members of the public,
members of angling clubs and
Angling Trust staff.
• During the same period, the VBS
has also reported around 200 incidents to the Environment Agency
and police.
Intelligence Manager Gary
Thomas said: “That over half of these
reports have come from the VBS is
testament to our volunteers’ commitment and will doubtless encourage others to submit reports. Also,
the fact that the reports are being
forwarded to the right people in the
Environment Agency should encourage confidence that it is worthwhile
submitting the information and that
it’s not being ignored.”
Dilip Sarkar MBE, the FESS
National Enforcement Manager,
said: “This is the end product of the
VBS, bides well for the future and
totally justifies the initiative, so a big
‘well done’ to all our volunteers and
staff from me personally. This really
is the vision in action. For the first
time we are able to start properly to
quantify the extent of this issue and
ensure that our empowered partners
are fed the life-blood of intelligence.
That is our role and it is now up to
our partners to translate this intelligence into positive action, the
results of which we very much look
forward to seeing. It is vitally important that we not only maintain but
increase the momentum achieved to
which end I would urge all anglers
and the general public to report any
incidents to the Environment
Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or
police. This is the only way we will
win this battle.”
Adrian Saunders, Environment
Agency Senior Advisor, Incidents
and Compliance, said: “Information
from a network of trained ‘eyes and
ears’ at the waterside is essential to
direct our enforcement officers to
where they are needed most. These
volunteers are helping us to protect
their fisheries and the Environment
Agency welcomes the support from
the angling community in tackling
illegal fishing.”
Chief Inspector Martin Sims of
S u s s e x P o l i c e, H e a d o f t h e U K
National Wildlife Crime Unit, said:
“The intelligence submissions now
being provided by the VBS speaks
for itself and does the whole project
proud. With challenges faced by
rural policing, the extra eyes and
ears provided by trained volunteers
offer further coverage in rural localities to support policing and the
Environment Agency. I wholeheartedly welcome the collaboration and
what it provides, and wish the VBS
throughout England continued success. It is vital that we all work
together and this proves the value of
such an approach.” n


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