PC Gavin Ross, new wildlife crime investigative support officer

PC Gavin Ross, new wildlife crime investigative support officer

A newly appointed police officer with Scotland’s National Wildlife Crime Unit will make tackling raptor persecution, hare coursing and poaching his priorities.

PC Gavin Ross’s post as investigative support officer has been funded by NatureScot, the government’s advisory body on the outdoors.

He will work with individual police wildlife liaison officers, NGOs, the Scottish Government, NatureScot, the RSPB, the SSPCA and Scottish Land and Estates.

PC Ross was the local community police officer for Dunbar, and has 21 years of police service and an extensive background in wildlife crime issues, community policing, problem solving and educational work.

He said: “When I was in Edinburgh, very early in my service, I became involved in investigating wildlife crime because of my interest and experience in this area.

“I’ve been a part-time wildlife crime officer throughout my whole service and the new job is the pinnacle of my career. I worked very hard preparing for my interview and was very keen to secure the job, which is a dream post. I am looking forward to settling into the role and working with all the different partner agencies which are so important in the fight against wildlife crime.

“In the six weeks I’ve been in post I’ve concentrated on meeting many of the partner agencies we work with in wildlife crime. Unfortunately most of the meetings have had to be done virtually but I feel they have all been really positive and I look forward to building on these initial foundations, especially when we can meet face to face.”

Ben Macpherson, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, said: “Wildlife crime is despicable and tackling it has been a long-standing priority for the Scottish Government.

“We work closely with a number of agencies to ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. The Animals and Wildlife Act, which recently became law, increases the maximum penalties for the most serious wildlife crimes and extends the time available to Police Scotland to investigate.

“The work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit is hugely valued by communities across Scotland and we are committed to supporting it. I look forward to working with PC Ross in the future and congratulate him on his new role.”

The unit’s main role is to assist in the prevention and detection of wildlife crime by obtaining and distributing information from a wide range of organisations and by helping police forces investigate wildlife crimes. NWCU also produce analysis which highlights local or national threats.

The appointment of PC Ross comes after the retirement of PC Charlie Everitt, who spent the past 11 years developing the role of Scottish investigative support office within the National Wildlife Crime Unit. PC Everitt furthered countless operations, provided expert advice to police wildlife liaison officers and acted as the key central point of contact between the police and a range of partner agencies. NatureScot said he was well known throughout the Scottish wildlife crime arena and his professional knowledge, enthusiasm, and willingness to assist were beyond question. PC Ross recognised he had ‘big shoes to fill’.

Andy Turner, NatureScot wildlife crime officer said: “Eliminating wildlife crime is huge priority for us, which is why we’ve provided funding for this post since 2014.

“Wildlife crime doesn’t just cause irreparable damage to Scotland’s nature. It also affects tourism, which in turn impacts on the economy. We are committed to working with NWCU, Police Scotland and other members of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime to tackle this challenging issue.

“We worked closely with Gavin’s predecessor Charlie Everitt to prevent wildlife crime and raise awareness. I look forward to continuing to this important work with Gavin and the NWCU in the future.”

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