WILDLIFE crime officers and experts from across the UK descended on North Yorkshire Police’s headquarters to discuss how best to protect birds of prey.

Around 100 wildlife crime officers and experts from across the UK attended the ‘Satellite Tag Awareness Training Day’ to share learnings and best practice in tackling raptor persecution.

The national seminar organised by Bedfordshire Police superintendent and chair of the National Raptor Persecution Delivery Group, Nick Lyall, brought together wildlife crime officers, representatives from the RSPB, Natural England, RSPCA, national parks and others.

The day began with an introduction from North Yorkshire Police deputy chief constable, Phil Cain. He said: “It was very positive to see so many people coming together from across England, Scotland and Wales to discuss how best we can protect our national birds of prey. This training day follows the national roll out of our Operation Owl initiative led by Nick Lyall and which further underlines the importance of partnership working and sharing best practice in tackling wildlife crime.”

Operation Owl aims to raise awareness of raptor persecution, encouraging the public to be vigilant for signs of this criminal activity, whilst increasing police surveillance checks on known hot-spots in order to disrupt offender activity.

North Yorkshire is home to a diverse population of birds of prey (also known as raptors) and sadly suffers the highest levels of raptor persecution in the country – something which Operation Owl aims to tackle.