General election 2019: Labour pledges £4.5m to tackle wildlife crime


Labour have promised to do more to combat fox hunting, hare coursing and other wildlife crimes, if they win the general election.

The party says it will spend £4.5m on 82 new officers as part of its pledge to increase overall policing numbers.

Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said the policy would "help protect both wild animals and property in rural communities".

The Badger Trust said the move was "of significant importance".

Labour quoted a National Police Chiefs' Council report that suggested there were currently only 88 police staff dedicated to wildlife crime.

But the figure includes civilian managers and community support officers.

Ms Hayman said: "We are calling time on those who have been allowed to get away with illegally hunting, maiming and killing wild animals such as deer, hen harriers, foxes and hares.

"By increasing the number of wildlife and rural police officers across the country we will help protect both wild animals and property in rural communities, and ensure a crackdown on the types of crimes against animals that this Tory government has turned a blind eye to."

A spokesman from the Badger Trust said it would help to focus attention on the "growing threat" to badgers, foxes, birds of prey and other species in the wild.