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Lib Dems Save Wildlife Crime Unit From Extinction

March 1, 2016 11:35 AM

The government has today decided to U-turn on its plans to axe the Wildlife Crime Unit, following pressure from the Liberal Democrats.

The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) was established in 2006 to investigate offences including rare-bird egg theft, deer poaching, badger baiting, trade of endangered species, hare coursing, illegal taxidermy and cruelty to wild animals. The 12-strong team supports the UK's police forces, as well as their international partners, by providing intelligence and direct assistance.

Funding for the NWCU had been due to end this March, and it had been expected to close. At the 11th hour after Liberal Democrat pressure the government have today announced funding of £1.2 million, securing the future of the NWCU up to March 2020.

Tim said: "The government has finally relented and seen sense. The work that the NWCU does combating wildlife crimes is vital.

"With the specialised expertise it has built up over a decade, I believe it is essential we maintain this unit in its entirety. I am delighted that we have been able to secure this funding today but it should not have had to come to this.

"The government have promised to protect the police but this whole saga shows that their words and their deeds do not match up. They have to be pushed into funding the unit.

"It's very much a world-leading police unit of its kind."