Surrey Police has become the latest force to sign up to Operation TRAVERSE – the multi-agency initiative launched four years ago to tackle fish theft and illegal fishing.
The commitment creates an important link with surrounding forces and provides a wider roll-out of the operation in the East and South East of England.
Operation TRAVERSE was launched in November 2014 to provide police forces, the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement, the Angling Trust and other partners with a platform to work better together and share information to tackle fisheries crime and illegal fishing.
Dilip Sarkar MBE, Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager, said: “This is yet another step forward and indicates an undertaking from the police service to address anglers’ issues and the wider criminality involved, in spite of its huge array of other commitments and priorities. We look forward very much to working closely with Surrey Police and our existing and future partners.”
Assistant Chief Constable Nev Kemp, of Surrey Police, said: “The work we are doing with Operation TRAVERSE plays an important role in positively contributing to the fight against fisheries crime in Surrey. This multi-agency, partnership working is an excellent approach to tackling the concerns of the angling community and we are excited to commit to this joint initiative.
“We will be working closely with the Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Support Service and Voluntary Bailiffs and supporting Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers on planned days of action across the region. It is important we emphasise the key role all anglers can play by reporting incidents and information, helping us to create a more detailed intelligence picture. Working with anglers, and other members of our rural communities, helps us pursue criminals, protect the vulnerable and prevent crime. Through the intelligence we gather we can help make Surrey the safest county it can be.”
Dave Webb, fisheries team leader with the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency is pleased to be working with Surrey Police and the Angling Trust to ensure that together we combat illegal fishing in Surrey and prevent unlawful activities on our waterways.
“People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport but run the risk of a criminal conviction and a fine. There is no excuse – a fishing licence costs just £30 for a whole year and you can buy it online at GOV.UK.
“We track criminals on an intelligence led basis using information gathered by ourselves, the police and other partners and reports from the public. We urge anyone to report illegal fishing as quickly as possible by calling our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”
David Wardley-Wilkins, the Angling Trust’s Regional Enforcement Manager (South East), said: “Tackling fish theft and illegal fishing is vital if we are to protect fisheries and having Surrey Police join Operation TRAVERSE is terrific news for all responsible, law-abiding anglers.”
Anyone suspecting suspicious behaviour at a fishery should call the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or the Police on 101.
Launch of Operation TRAVERSE at Surrey Police HQ. From left:
Martynas Pranaitis (Environment Agency),
PCSO Gregor Culross (Surrey Police),
PC Laura Rowley (Surrey Police),
Dave Wardley-Wilkins (Angling Trust),
David Pennington (Voluntary Bailiff Service),
ACC Nev Kemp (Surrey Police),
Carl Racey (Environment Agency).