Amazing news – Operation Seabird, which was launched to protect seabirds and sea mammals on the East Coast of East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, has only gone and won a prestigious national award!
The UK National Wildlife Crime Unit awarded Operation Seabird the Wildlife Crime Partner Operation of the Year award for 2021.
All credit must go to the amazing Rural Task Force who have worked tirelessly to work with partners in North Yorkshire Police, Lincolnshire Police, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), RSPCA, RSPB, the local authorities of the East Riding and North East Lincolnshire along with many other partners and charities, to protect our coastline’s seabirds and marine mammals from persecution and disturbance.
Inspector Jon Powell said: “What an incredible and very well-earned award. The team has worked so hard to get the operation off the ground and for it to be taken up around the country by other forces is praise in itself for their hard work.
“This award is in recognition of their hard work and ingenuity and I congratulate Rural Task Force officers Sergeant Jenna Jones, PCs Joshua Fawcett, Richard Fussey, Kevin Jones and Erica Williamson.”
“Along with this award I am delighted to also hear that our incredibly dedicated Rural Task Force volunteer Gordon Calvert has won a Wildlife Crime Lifetime Achievement Award for 2021 for his amazing life’s work to help others.
“Gordon has worked with Humberside Police’s rural teams at Driffield for over 15 years, dedicating his own time to improving the lives of everyone in our rural communities. His many hundreds of hours of work has been unpaid but certainly not un-noticed.
“A familiar face in the East Riding farming community, Gordon’s experience in rural matters has provided support and assistance to everyone he’s come into contact with.
“Gordon, your award is well deserved and recognises your hard work. And I speak on behalf of the Chief Constable and the Chief Officers when I give our sincere thanks for your time and dedication to your community and our officers.”
“I must also mention that PC Richard Fussey based at Driffield, PC Lawrence Grant based at Brigg and volunteer Sue Edmunds were nominated for awards however, on this occasion, were not successful. This does not however detract from the appreciation from their local rural communities and police colleagues.
The award was presented at 32nd National Wildlife Crime Conference in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on Saturday 4 December 2021. Attended by Sergeant Jenna Jones, PC Williamson and PC Grant.
Speaking about Operation Seabird, sergeant Jenna Jones said: “The Yorkshire coastline is an amazing landscape that’s such an important feeding and breeding ground for a variety of seabirds and marine mammals.
“This valuable asset not only attracts visitors to explore the beaches and cliffs, but also attracts those wishing to explore the coastal waters themselves.
“Unfortunately we have a number of reports each year of members of the public on the water, approaching too closely to the wildlife that lives in the area, including the nesting seabirds and marine mammals.
“The disturbance of these important species can impact on the success of their breeding and also cause cetaceans in particular high levels of stress, which could lead to future issues such as stranding and injuries through impact with water craft.
“Operation Seabird was launched in 2020 as a multi-agency partnership operation to educate the public about the importance of the resident wildlife and the impact that these disturbance events can cause.
“The key focus of the operation is to ensure that members of the public, who are using the waters along the Yorkshire coast, do so in a responsible way. We want to ensure they keep their distance from the wildlife to prevent intentional disturbance and to safeguard this stretch of coastline, allowing future generations to enjoy the spectacle we see today.”