NERF wins PAW Partner of the Year 2014 Award

The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime UK (PAW UK) helps statutory and non-government organisations to work together to combat wildlife crime. Its objectives are to reduce wildlife crime through effective and targeted enforcement, better regulation and improved awareness. ( See www.nwcu.police.uk/about/the-structure-of-paw-uk/ )

Each year PAW seeks nominations from across the UK for the organisation which has made the most outstanding contribution to supporting the work of the statutory enforcement agencies in preventing and prosecuting wildlife crime.

We are delighted to announce that the winner of 2014 Partner of the Year is The Northern England Raptor Forum (NERF).

IMG_8150

Stephen Downing collecting the award from Tom Browne Jacobson on behalf of NERF

The Northern England Raptor Forum is a voluntary organisation and in 2014 members committed in excess of 50,000 hours to the core activities of surveying, monitoring and protecting birds of prey throughout the north of England together with data collection and analysis.

NERF members study 23 species of birds of prey, (including owls and Ravens) that breed in, over-winter in or transit through the North of England. The data gathered by the members
is published in an Annual Report and this data-set
is an invaluable source of information for Natural England,
the British Trust for Ornithology and the UK Rare Breeding Birds Panel.

NERF members maintain a close working relationship with local Wildlife Crime Officers and offer expert advice when required. In 2014 a NERF representative attended the National Wildlife Crime Officer’s Conference and information gathered from the Conference was subsequently disseminated to the members to aid them in their fight against wildlife crime involving raptors. Monitoring of the most vulnerable species / nest sites and the mapping of ‘black hole’ species enables NERF to advise Wildlife Crime Officers and other partners where they should target their efforts to both prevent and detect wildlife crime.

The award was collected by Stephen Downing, Stephen represents NERF at the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime working group meetings.

Before his retirement from the force , Stephen was appointed to the post of Wildlife Crime Officer in the West Yorkshire Police in 1991 and commented that “Unfortunately after almost 25 years, despite the best efforts of many very committed people, very little has changed. The wildlife crime priorities then are, with a few tweaks, the same today. Wildlife crime, for profit or pleasure continues apace and is a plague on all of our houses. There is much to do and PAW Partners are ideally placed to provide this support. NERF is fully committed to fulfilling this role on behalf of birds of prey”.

The award is fantastic recognition of the work of NERF and a highly deserved accolade for Steve’s personal contribution both to NERF and his work within PAW.

Special thanks to Bob Elliot (RSPB Head of Investigations) for nominating NERF