Thank you for contacting me about the National Wildlife Crime Unit. Given my professional background as a veterinary surgeon you will appreciate that this is an issue close to my heart so I very much appreciate your concerns.
I understand your strong feelings on this issue, and wish to thank you for your clear commitment to the welfare of wildlife across our country.
Both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Home Office fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit and support its work in investigating crime. I am aware that the Home Office will be providing specific funding of £136,000 to support the work of the Unit in 2020/21. Under a four year funding agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Defra has contributed £165,000 a year between 2016 and 2020 to the Unit’s activities. I am pleased that the Department has committed to maintaining the Defra contribution in 2020/21. This will be in addition to the funding central Government will be providing police forces in England and Wales to tackle all types of crime, including wildlife crime.
As I understand it, funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit beyond March 2021 will be looked at as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.
I would like to reassure you that the Government takes wildlife crime in the UK, as well as abroad, very seriously. I am pleased that up to £6.3 million per year is provided to support international action to counter poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
Again, as a vet, I am passionate about animal health and welfare and thank you again for contacting me about this important issue.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes