Saved, at least for another four years. The UK’s National Wildlife Crime Unit

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All set to close at the end of March 2016, the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) has won a late reprieve after the government announced, new funding for the Unit on 1 March 2016.
The specialist National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) assists in the prevention and detection of wildlife crime. This includes everything  from the killing of birds of prey and poaching of deer in the UK to the smuggling of endangered reptiles, birds and elephant ivory across the globe.  It was set to close at the end of March, but environment minister Rory Stewart announced funding for four years in a statement to parliament.

The written statement to parliament from environment minister Rory Stewart said:

“The National Wildlife Crime Unit is a specialist unit dedicated to tackling wildlife crime, playing an important role in wildlife law enforcement both at home and internationally. It provides intelligence and direct assistance to individual police forces and other UK law enforcement agencies, including providing specialist support that allows warranted Officers to investigate wildlife crime. The Unit also acts as the UK policing focal point for EUROPOL and INTERPOL activity on all wildlife crime related matters, and works in partnership with non-governmental agencies across the UK committed to tackling wildlife crime.

“Following the Spending Review 2015, Defra and Home Office Ministers have been considering the level of government funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit beyond March 2016.

“In recognition of the important contribution the Unit makes to tackling wildlife crime, both at home and abroad, I can confirm that Defra and Home Office Ministers have agreed that their respective departments will each provide the Unit with funding of £136,000 a year for the next four financial years. This will give the Unit significant financial stability and enable their vital work to continue until at least 2020. Those contributions will be in addition to the funding central Government provides to police forces in England and Wales to tackle all types of crime (including wildlife crime).

“In addition, Defra will provide the Unit with up to £29,000 a year over the next four years for specific work to tackle wildlife crime conducted online, as a developing area of global criminal activity.

Government funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit jointly provided by Defra and the Home Office up to March 2020, including additional support from Defra to tackle online wildlife crime, will total £1.204 million.”

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