RSPCA: Police and Crime Commissioners need to consider animal welfare

Call on election candidates to sign RSPCA welfare charter

Candidates standing for election in the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections have been urged to sign up to the RSPCA’s new animal welfare charter.

Britain’s biggest animal charity has highlighted four key areas where it believes police forces across England and Wales can improve animal welfare as part of developing a more civilised society.

The first ever PCC elections will be held on 15 November when the public will be able to elect representatives for each police area*. The new PCCs will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force area.

The charity’s chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The RSPCA works closely in partnership with many police officers on a daily basis tackling animal cruelty.  Without this approach neither the police nor the Society would be able to tackle all of these problems.

“Candidates should remember that the public has always had a keen interested in and concern for police dog and horse welfare and it is important that the successful candidates continue to develop and improve standards of care and welfare for these working animals.

“The RSPCA is asking all those who may be elected as a PCC to stand up and be counted and show their commitment and support for animal welfare.  In supporting the Charter they show their determination to ensure animal welfare is taken seriously and prioritised accordingly in their force strategies, policies and procedures.”

The RSPCA’s Animal Welfare Charter for Police and Crime Commissioner Candidates has asks in four key categories.

Tackling wildlife crime

·         Ensure they retain and support their wildlife crime police officers so they can work with the many different agencies and organisations trying to tackle these issues.

·         Develop, where appropriate, a specific wildlife crime strategy for their force area in conjunction with other key enforcement partners.

Tackling irresponsible dog ownership

·         Ensure there is a force-wide strategy for tackling irresponsible dog ownership.

·         Retain and support dog legislation officers so they can work with the many different agencies and organisations providing effective enforcement and education.

·         Support our calls for the Governments in Westminster and Wales to bring in consolidated and updated legislation that puts preventative measures at its heart to both prevent serious incidents from occurring and provide better protection for people and animals.

Improving police dog and horse welfare

·         Ensure that their force’s policies and practices are compliant with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

·         For canine and equine teams to ensure animal welfare is taught as part of the basic courses handlers take.

Working with and assisting RSPCA inspectors to prevent animal cruelty

·         Ensure that their force has clear protocols and procedures for liaising and working in partnership with RSPCA inspectors to provide effective services to the local community concerning animal welfare.

More information, as well as a PDF of the full Animal Welfare Charter, is available at http://www.politicalanimal.org.uk/area/local-government/police-and-crime-commissioners

-ends-

Notes to editors

* Police Crime and Commissioner elections will be for 41 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, with only the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police not involved. The elected Mayor of London is class as the Police and Crime Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police Area, while the Court of Common Council will serve the role for the City of London Police.

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288  Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk