Exminster Marshes RSPB reserve, on the Exe Estuary, Devon, England.

Wildlife Crime Officers (WCOs)

The RSPB's Investigations Section was instrumental in the creation of the police WCO network. Since then the network has gone from strength to strength.

Wildlife Crime Officers

Wildlife Crime Officers (WCOs) are police officers who are designated by their forces to deal with wildlife crime issues.

The majority of forces now have at least one WCO, and many forces having several. Most WCOs undertake their wildlife duties on top of all their other policing work, but a small number of forces now have a full-time WCO.

The RSPB places high emphasis on training and supporting this network and contributes to the national training course for WCOs as well as training individual forces. The RSPB instituted and organised the annual national WCO conference every year since its inception in 1989 until handing it over to the police and Defra in 1997.

WCOs are kept informed of recent court cases, changes to the legislation and news about the WCO network through the RSPB’s investigations newsletter Legal Eagle, which is distributed quarterly. The RSPB also produces the annual Birdcrime report.

How you can help

Poisoned bird of prey

Have you seen a crime against a wild bird?
Click here for more information about how to report a wild bird crime.