Following the successful launch of Operation Raptor in March 2016 the PSNI have continued to show their commitment to wildlife crime by contributing to a UK initiative named “Peregrine Watch”
Peregrine Watch is an initiative to stop any peregrine persecution and this can include theft of eggs and chicks from nests and/or the killing of adults and/or chicks through poisoning, shooting or trapping.
Sgt Fallis, PSNI Fermanagh and Omagh District Community Planning, stated; “We have locally pro-actively built excellent relations with the Raptor Study Group in Northern Ireland who monitor and visit all the Peregrine nest sites in Northern Ireland each year and as such, through the appropriate licences, we, along with the raptor group, are checking local nests to ensure crimes against these birds is minimised and that we are familiar with our local protected species. The PSNI take all reports of wildlife crime seriously and as such if we receive a report linked to peregrine watch we will respond accordingly. If anyone has information on any type of crime against birds of prey please contact 101”.
Dr Marc Ruddock & Mr Cliff Dawson, two of the peregrine surveyors for Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group (NIRSG) who have been out surveying with PSNI officers both have welcomed the initiative saying; “The NIRSG welcomes the PSNI initiative locally especially since we lose a number of peregrines each year, particularly to illegal poisoning or shooting. We are spending time with local PSNI officers again this year surveying peregrine sites, ringing chicks and liaising with landowners in order to prevent crimes against these birds. As always we would urge anybody who notices any suspicious activity particularly near quarries or cliffs to the PSNI to help thwart these wildlife criminals”.
Chief Inspector Martin Sims of the National Wildlife Crime Unit stated that, “In many parts of the UK, the Peregrine is under real threat for a number of reasons. These include persecution, whether that be shooting, poisoning or trapping of both peregrine adults and chicks or theft of nestlings. This is totally unacceptable and I am really pleased to see all the efforts that Northern Ireland are making to try and prevent the persecution of Peregrines happening in any circumstance”