Lifetime achievement award for Herts wildlife crime officer
A wildlife crime officer from Hertfordshire has received a lifetime achievement award for her dedication to the role over the past three decades.
PC Jos Bartlett, from the Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team (ROST) said she was “surprised but honoured” to have received the accolade at the recent annual National Wildlife Crime Enforcers conference.
It was presented to her by the Chief Constable of Cheshire, Darren Martland, and Paul De Ornellas, the Chief Wildlife Advisor for WWF, in front of colleagues from across the country.
“It was a complete surprise to get the award, I didn’t have a clue, but I felt very honoured.
“It’s not really a role you do to seek reward; wildlife is voiceless so it can’t thank you for the work you’re doing, you just get on with it.”
Jos joined Hertfordshire Constabulary in 1990 and became a wildlife crime officer soon after, fulfilling the role alongside her day to day duties on Intervention (999 response team) and also Safer Neighbourhood Teams.
“I grew up on a swan sanctuary, so I always had a love of wildlife and an interest in wildlife crime,” said Jos.
In 2010, she joined the Constabulary’s newly formed Rural Operational Support Team, which provides advice and guidance on rural, wildlife, heritage, environmental and equine, matters to both colleagues and members of the public.
“It’s been really good getting a full time unit to deal with these matters; we’re very lucky in Hertfordshire that we have a team to support front line officers with education and advice on these issues and crimes.”
Her role has seen her deal with various wildlife crimes across the county including CITES matters (The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) and various persecution offences.
She has also regularly supported Border Force at Heathrow Airport, along with other Wildlife Crime Officers from around the country, on Operation Thunderbird, a global Interpol-led operation tackling the illegal trade in wildlife.
“It’s always interesting and one in which I can use my experience as both a Wildlife Crimes Officer and also a search team officer. We assist in the postal centres, alongside Border Force, and scan and check packages entering and also leaving the UK. We have had many seizures of goods over the years, ranging from ivory and rare plants to counterfeit goods; I even found a counterfeit passport which was sewn into the shoulder pads of a garment from Nigeria.
“I have created such good links with the Border Force team at Heathrow Airport that I was asked to represent the police and spend some time, one to one, with Prince William, talking to him about how the police across the country deal with the illegal trade in endangered species. He was allotted five minutes to speak to me in his busy schedule, but after 15 minutes we were still talking as he was genuinely interested in the work we do. Definitely a very memorable moment in my career.”