Sergeant Kelly was named Wildlife Law Enforcer of the year at the Wildlife Crime Conference on Friday (25 November 2017).
The award is presented annually to the law enforcer who has done the most to combat wildlife crime within the UK – a vital but often overlooked area of enforcement. the awards are WWF-sponsored and the criteria the panel uses to choose the winners is based on a range of things from proven success in tackling wildlife crime in the last 12 months, partnership working, use of innovative techniques, dedication to the cause, amongst others. The panel is made up of various governmental departments and WWF.
Speaking about winning the award, Sergeant Kelly said:
It’s a great pleasure to receive such a prestigious award. I had no Idea I had been nominated, so when I heard my work being read out, I was filled with excitement.
Now is a good time for me to reflect on the past 10 years that I have been a wildlife crime officer. I started from the bottom, having to earn the opportunity to be given a wildlife crime officers course.
As a PC at Selby I would work in my own time and on my days off to tackle hare coursing and poaching issues. Then along came Operation Jumbo, a wildlife and rural crime operation that boasted over 40 arrests over the three weeks. I have achieved convictions for bat disturbance, greater crested newts habitat destruction and raptor persecution. I also secured the first ever conviction for North Yorkshire police under the hunting act 2004 legislation.
I would not be in this position if it wasn’t for my team of dedicated and committed officers.
I am now Acting Inspector and the force operational lead for Wildlife Crime within our rural taskforce team and responsible for the twenty one Wildlife Crime Officers across the force.
My team and I work relentlessly in our aim to tackle wildlife crime. However, we could not do this without successful partnership working. We work with the RSPB, Paw members, RSPCA, WWF and NWCU to safeguard our wildlife for us all to enjoy.
We also need the public to play their part. You are our eyes and ears. We encourage you to report anything suspicious, or any concerns to us and we will review all of the information and take any necessary action to protect our wildlife.
Inspector Jon Grainge said:
Kevin is hugely passionate in his role. He frequently leads from the front on wildlife crime investigations, using his enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience to positively influence others.