I’ve received several emails about my priorities on wildlife crime.
The first thing to say is that ‘wildlife crime’ covers a huge range of crime from badger baiting to illegal puppy farming and hunting.
I have grown up surrounded by animals on the farm. Our house was always full of pets, and sometimes even cold lambs warming in the bottom oven.
You learn a great deal about life, and death, when living close to nature. I gained a lifelong love of the countryside and its ways from my childhood. Animals and people are both part of the countryside we love. Both have shaped and continue to shape our landscape. We have a duty to treat animals well.
The second thing to say is that, under PCCs, the police will make decisions about how to police particular crimes. Parliament decides the law. The police enforce it and the courts judge it. Those are vital principles at the heart of our democracy. They must be upheld and will not change under PCCs.
PCCs will set police priorities, in place of cumbersome Police Authorities. They will decide how much money is spent on what.
My priority is to tackle those crimes that affect people. Where illegal activity relating to animals takes place, I will ensure the police have the resources and leadership to pursue it as they do now.
Over the last few weeks I’ve heard about the terrible damage done by crimes like domestic violence, intimidation, antisocial behaviour and drugs. We must make these our priority when faced with limited funds.
They will be the focus of my efforts. I want to ensure that our people are protected and feel safe in their homes, towns and villages.