Take a walk on the wild side

KIRKCALDY;'Fife Police Wildlife Crimes Officer Ian Laing 'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'Fife Police Wildlife Crimes Officer Ian Laing 'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
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“It doesn’t feel like a job to me, it’s a pleasure to come to work every morning.”

There aren’t too many people who can say that about their job, but Fife Police’s wildlife and environmental crime co-ordinator says that since he was appointed to the post 15 months ago he has never been happier in his work.

Ian Laing (46), has been a police officer for 26 years, covering wildlife incidents on top of his normal policing duties for the past five.

Having helped out on farms in his youth, Ian jumped at the chance to take on the role of wildlife crime officer full-time when Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police recommended that each force have its own dedicated officer.

And it is a move he has not regretted.

Changing schedule

“Every day is different – you don’t know what you could be facing.

‘‘One day you could be out tracking poachers in the dead of night and the next giving talks to a group of school pupils.

‘‘At the moment there are not enough hours in the day for everything I have to do and I am having to prioritise my workload,” he explained.

Ian works alongside his eight police colleagues throughout Fife Police who deal with wildlife crime on top of their normal duties.

And they work alongside other partner agencies including the Scottish SPCA, Scottish Deer Centre, the Salmon Fisheries Board, Scottish Badgers and many other wildlife organisations to share intelligence and expertise to achieve the best outcomes.

And, as Ian is based at the Harbourmaster’s House in Dysart, home to the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, he gathers lots of information from Fife’s countryside Rangers who are out and about the length and breadth of the Kingdom on their daily travels.

Public link

Reporting of wildlife and environmental crime in Fife rose by a massive 815 per cent between 2009 and 2010, a fact Ian puts down to more people taking an active interest in their surroundings and spending more of their time enjoying the great outdoors, as well as having a dedicated person to report incidents to.

And he says that information passed to him from the public is of vital importance in his day to day work.

“I would urge anyone with any concerns in this area to contact me,” he said.

“They may not think it is of very much importance, but every bit of information can help us to build up an overall picture of a crime.”