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Bearing Witness for Wildlife - Conservation Wildlife Crime Project

The Bearing Witness for Wildlife Conservation Wildlife Crime Project recognises that wildlife crime is not currently recorded, investigated or prosecuted effectively.

Neither the police nor government record most wildlife crime and therefore its extent in relation to many species is simply unknown. For a number of years BCT's Investigations Project has been recording levels of crime against bats and we feel reasonably confident that we have an understanding of how much occurs. The Bearing Witness for Wildlife Project will allow us to work in collaboration with other conservation organisations to introduce similar recording practices for other species such as great crested newt, water vole and bluebell.

Our work has contributed to the manner in which bat crimes are investigated and prosecuted. In some cases it is more appropriate to secure a conservation benefit than to prosecute. However, where prosecutions go ahead, conservation impact statements provide courts with the information they need if they are to sentence on the basis of detrimental impact to populations of bats. A recent case has also seen profits confiscated from an offender who benefitted financially from illegal actions. We will work towards similar processes and outcomes for other species through this project. 

Recent years have seen some good examples of sentencing for bat crimes but equally there have been other cases where penalties have been totally inadequate. We will also work with partners to produce either formal or informal sentencing guidance for wildlife crime.

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Bat Helpline

0345 1300 228