On 1st June 2016, we blogged about the Mossdale Estate gamekeeper who had been caught on film setting illegal pole traps on a grouse moor in the Yorkshire Dales National Park (see here).
Later that day we also blogged about North Yorkshire Police’s decision to issue this criminal with a caution rather than refer him to the Crown Prosecution Service to begin a formal prosecution. We argued that, according to the official Police ‘cautions’ guidelines, the decision to caution in this case was apparently flawed. The offences, to which the gamekeeper had already admitted guilt, backed up by excellent video evidence obtained by the RSPB’s Investigations Team, were of such gravity and included all five aggravating factors (and no mitigating factors) as listed in the Police guidelines, that this was a clear case for proceeding to charges and a prosecution (see here).
The Police’s decision to issue a caution, and their justification for that decision, resulted in widespread public anger, particularly on social media.
To her credit, Amanda Oliver, North Yorkshire Police Acting Chief Constable (also the newly-appointed Police National Wildlife Crime lead) responded by tweeting the following:
Around the same time, one of our readers sent an FoI to North Yorkshire Police about this case, asking for details about the procedures that were followed to reach the decision to caution this gamekeeper. The response doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. That blog reader has kindly given us permission to post the Police’s FoI response here: NYP_FOI_June2016_pole trap decision
So, it’s now 30th June 2016 and a month has passed since we were promised a police review of the decision to caution. Where is it? How long does it take to conduct a review of this nature? It can’t take very long, surely? The evidence against the gamekeeper was as good as it gets (unequivocal video footage and a subsequent admission of guilt from the gamekeeper) so the question to be addressed by the review is pretty simple:
Why did the police officer issue a simple caution when the official police guidelines state that a simple caution was inappropriate for these offences?
Let’s ask Acting Chief Constable Amanda Oliver when we might expect to see the results of the review. Emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org