I understand your strong feelings on this issue, and I thank you for your clear commitment to the welfare of wildlife across our country.
Both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Home Office fund the National Wildlife Crime Unit and support its work in investigating crime. I gather that the Home Office will be providing specific funding of £136,00 to support the work of the Unit in 2020/21. Under a four-year funding agreement with the National Wildlife Crime Unit, Defra has contributed £165,00 a year between 2016 and 2020 to the Unit’s activities and I am pleased that the Department has committed to maintaining the Defra contribution in 2020/21. This will be in addition to the funding central Government will be providing police forces in England and Wales to tackle all types of crime, including wildlife crime.
As I understand it, funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit beyond March 2021 will be looked at as part of the forthcoming Spending Review and I would like to reassure you that the Government takes wildlife crime in the UK, as well as aboard, very seriously. I am pleased that up to £6.3 million per year is provided to support international action to counter poaching and illegal wildlife trade.