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Over 800,000 birds illegally killed on British military base in Cyprus last autumn

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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 00:05   #1
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Over 800,000 birds illegally killed on British military base in Cyprus last autumn

Over 800,000 birds illegally killed on British military base in Cyprus last autumn

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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 08:37   #2
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Shameful complacency by the UK authorities. I'm sure there are political sensitivities around the sovereign base, but no excuse for a total failure to enforce the law.
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 10:23   #3
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Shameful complacency by the UK authorities. I'm sure there are political sensitivities around the sovereign base, but no excuse for a total failure to enforce the law.
I totally agree - the UK authorities were apparently removing the planted Acacias which the trappers planted and use to catch the birds, but have stopped due to local protests by the trappers!

I wonder how much EU funding has Cyprus received since it joined? and how much directly from the UK?

cheers, alan
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 10:27   #4
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Cyprus is (was) only a minor net recipient of EU funds, eg c £20m net in 2010:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/dat...union#spending

Of course given this is a UK sovereign base, one might argue that this is not relevant.

cheers, alan
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 15:16   #5
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It's all the fault of the EU. Er...
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 15:37   #6
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It's all the fault of the EU. Er...
Good to hear the Art 50 Notification bill got Royal Ascent today.

We might be able to get tougher with the Cypriot trappers once we are out of this dysfunctional empire.

cheers, alan
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 15:47   #7
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It's all the fault of the EU. Er...
It is not, but the EU could do a lot more if it so chose, putting more serious pressure on the relevant southern nations to abide by EU bird protection laws. Given however that the EU is unable to even force the likes of Hungary to abide by norms of usual humanity in the treatment of people, it is hardly a surprise they are unable to do so for birds.

But given this is British sovereign territory, no need to bring the EU into the discussion, Britain needs to get its act together.
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 16:39   #8
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It is not, but the EU could do a lot more if it so chose, putting more serious pressure on the relevant southern nations to abide by EU bird protection laws. Given however that the EU is unable to even force the likes of Hungary to abide by norms of usual humanity in the treatment of people, it is hardly a surprise they are unable to do so for birds.

But given this is British sovereign territory, no need to bring the EU into the discussion, Britain needs to get its act together.

Even more so & quickly as Britain has agreed to cede half its sovereign base territories back to Cyprus as part of an island settlement, should it happen!


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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 19:12   #9
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Shameful complacency by the UK authorities. I'm sure there are political sensitivities around the sovereign base, but no excuse for a total failure to enforce the law.
Absolute cock. The training areas where the trapping goes on are "outside the wire" and the responsibility of the Service authorities for keeping their staff (including families and locally employed Cypriot natives) safe on bases that are involved in the fight against IS has to be concentrated on the area inside the wire.

Patrolling the training areas in order to catch bird trappers has to be very much a secondary activity: most of the patrolling is in fact directed to making sure the areas are safe to train in - again, given the possibility of IS activity.

You lot should be grateful they divert any effort to the conservation fight, not complaining that they don't do more.

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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 19:31   #10
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Absolute cock. The training areas where the trapping goes on are "outside the wire" and the responsibility of the Service authorities for keeping their staff (including families and locally employed Cypriot natives) safe on bases that are involved in the fight against IS has to be concentrated on the area inside the wire.

Patrolling the training areas in order to catch bird trappers has to be very much a secondary activity: most of the patrolling is in fact directed to making sure the areas are safe to train in - again, given the possibility of IS activity.

You lot should be grateful they divert any effort to the conservation fight, not complaining that they don't do more.

Sorry, complete rubbish. The sovereign territories are policed by the Sovereign Base Areas Police, whose purpose is provide a civil policing service "to maintain law and order across all of the Sovereign Base Areas by the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders and the operation of Her Majesty's Prison, Dhekelia."

Read the SBA Police Service's own statement of purpose - contribution to security is on the list, but notably after a number relating to general crime. They obviously consider their purpose to be rather different from your perception John.

OUR PURPOSE:
In providing a policing service is:
- To uphold the rule of Law
- To keep the Queen's Peace
- To protect life and property and to help and reassure people in need
- To prevent and detect crime
- To contribute to the security of the SBAs
- To operate a professional prison service
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 20:08   #11
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Sorry, complete rubbish. The sovereign territories are policed by the Sovereign Base Areas Police, whose purpose is provide a civil policing service "to maintain law and order across all of the Sovereign Base Areas by the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders and the operation of Her Majesty's Prison, Dhekelia."

Read the SBA Police Service's own statement of purpose - contribution to security is on the list, but notably after a number relating to general crime. They obviously consider their purpose to be rather different from your perception John.

OUR PURPOSE:
In providing a policing service is:
- To uphold the rule of Law
- To keep the Queen's Peace
- To protect life and property and to help and reassure people in need
- To prevent and detect crime
- To contribute to the security of the SBAs
- To operate a professional prison service
Yes indeed. And your point is? They don't have infinite resources and nothing I said contradicts their mission statement. They do undertake anti-poaching patrols in between their more important work (to MOD, which is why they are there at all.)

How many SBA police are there in total? How many are on duty at any one time? What are their irreducible minimum tasks? What is their workload outside of anti-poaching work? What is the spare capacity for surge? What do they see as their main risks and what intelligence do they have on them that you are unaware of? If you want one anti-poaching patrol out somewhere in the SBA training areas full time 24/7 (remembering that birds migrate and nets can be set overnight as well) that means, for men working a 35 hour week and having to work in pairs, without taking account of sickness, leave, training, meal breaks or anything else that can screw up a plan, ten men(9.6 actually) full time on anti-poaching. MOD hasn't got that kind of spare capacity in this country, let alone in what since the rise of IS has been a front-line forward base.

Leave criticism of the people doing all they can to those who have at least a glimmer of an idea what they are talking about. If you think MOD is under-funded and under-resourced, and that its mission should be wider than at present, write to your MP about it.

John
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 20:12   #12
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Well ...

I'm going with what Chris Packham was saying about it on Radio 2 earlier in the day ...
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 20:38   #13
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Yes indeed. And your point is? They don't have infinite resources and nothing I said contradicts their mission statement. They do undertake anti-poaching patrols in between their more important work (to MOD, which is why they are there at all.)

How many SBA police are there in total? How many are on duty at any one time? What are their irreducible minimum tasks? What is their workload outside of anti-poaching work? What is the spare capacity for surge? What do they see as their main risks and what intelligence do they have on them that you are unaware of? If you want one anti-poaching patrol out somewhere in the SBA training areas full time 24/7 (remembering that birds migrate and nets can be set overnight as well) that means, for men working a 35 hour week and having to work in pairs, without taking account of sickness, leave, training, meal breaks or anything else that can screw up a plan, ten men(9.6 actually) full time on anti-poaching. MOD hasn't got that kind of spare capacity in this country, let alone in what since the rise of IS has been a front-line forward base.

Leave criticism of the people doing all they can to those who have at least a glimmer of an idea what they are talking about. If you think MOD is under-funded and under-resourced, and that its mission should be wider than at present, write to your MP about it.

John
It seems very clear the effort is compromised by the desire not to upset the locals, rather than a lack of resources. Get a bulldozer in there asap.

cheers, alan
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 20:44   #14
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It seems very clear the effort is compromised by the desire not to upset the locals, rather than a lack of resources. Get a bulldozer in there asap.
Chris P wanted 20 men for 3 nights to sort it ... remove the irrigation, then remove the acacia trees themselves (ok, that might take a bit longer), but still ...
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 21:19   #15
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And your point is? They don't have infinite resources...

Leave criticism of the people doing all they can to those who have at least a glimmer of an idea what they are talking about.
Sorry John, read the posts - criticism (by myself and those you responded to) was directed at Britain/the UK authorities, "Britain needs to get its act together", not specifically at the people on the ground 'doing all they can'.

If such rampant illegal activity is taking place on the territory, clearly there is a major failure. No other way to say it. You yourself say in the opening of your defense "they don't have infinite resources" - if they don't have sufficient resources to do their job, I stand by my post - Britain needs to get its act together and provide the resources to enable them to actually do what they should be doing, i.e. detecting and preventing crime.

And, while we are at it, cut out the suggestion that people responding here don't have a glimmer of an idea what they are talking about - if 800,000 birds are being illegally killed in a single autumn on this fairly small territory, it is not a minor little petty event that doesn't warrant the attention of these busy police folk, it is a major event that is little short of a scandal that is occurring on territory controlled by the UK.
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 22:31   #16
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Sorry John, read the posts - criticism (by myself and those you responded to) was directed at Britain/the UK authorities, "Britain needs to get its act together", not specifically at the people on the ground 'doing all they can'.

If such rampant illegal activity is taking place on the territory, clearly there is a major failure. No other way to say it. And you yourself say the same in the opening of your defense "they don't have infinite resources" - if this is the case, I stand by my post - Britain needs to get its act together and provide the resources to enable them to do actually do what they should be doing, i.e. detecting and preventing crime.

And, while we are at it, cut out the suggestion that people responding here don't have a glimmer of an idea what they are talking about - if 800,000 birds are being illegally killed per year on this fairly small territory, it is not a minor little petty event that doesn't warrant the attention of these busy police folk, it is a major event that is little short of a scandal that is occurring on territory controlled by the UK.
I am not suggesting people don't know what the problem is. I am suggesting they have no idea of the implications of trying even to do a sensible minimum about it (neglecting issues such as who takes responsibility for trying criminals caught, where they are to be held, where they are to be jailed if convicted, how that will affect what happens to British Service personnel who currently are handed over by the Cypriot authorities to be dealt with internally under Forces discipline.... quid pro quo and all that!) Even on the SBA itself the necessity for good relations with the Cypriot government limits what can be done.

The suggestion was aimed at the idea that people commenting on here have given no consideration and have no inkling of the amount of resource required to maintain a minimal presence in the area where a crime that can go on anywhere, any time during the migration season. Which is not unusual: I've discussed the resource required to man a hospital bay 24/7 with those actually responsible for managing one and found they had no metric and no idea how to create one to define their manpower requirement (hence no idea of whether they were truly undermanned, and therefore no ability to argue rationally with the hospital's HR about needing more staff). Even if the SBA police have ten spare men throughout the migration season (and I bet they don't) should they deploy them as one patrol 24/7 or two during daylight hours only? Would they be better off increasing the intelligence side of their operations? Can they co-ordinate with the Cypriot authorities or are the latter allies of the criminals?

Not to mention how difficult it is to provide surveillance let alone action in 100 square miles of scrub and acacia when all the opposition needs is a law-abiding citizen with a mobile phone watching the roads down which any patrol must insert into the area. Assuming they don't have a friend who is a locally employed civilian on the base who keeps them informed of planned police activities in advance. No doctrine of hot pursuit either I should think: once over the SBA boundary that's that because they are back in Cyprus and the British have no authority.

But "major failure" - no. Not even by the British authorities. The SBAs on Cyprus are the front line in a war and the resources there are not available for making a serious dent in the trapping. This story will fade in 48 hours (as far as the Government is concerned) but if there was a security failure at the base and a human got hurt.... well, then the Government would feel the heat for months. That, they worry about. This, they don't. Currently there isn't the money or the political will to upset an ally whose country is providing a platform for attacking enemies further East. There won't be till the bigger problem is sorted. Even then the Government will want funds for the NHS, or for tax cuts, or something awful and useless like HS2. And will feel that in Cyprus this is essentially a Cypriot problem. Which is actually true.

If it was down to me there might be funds provided - though I'd probably spend them on up-gunning and increasing anti tiger and rhino poaching efforts in relevant countries instead - but it would have to be a heck of a lot of funds to make a serious difference.

John
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Old Thursday 16th March 2017, 22:42   #17
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Bulldoze the Acacias - cheap, easy, no police / military required

cheers, a
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 05:45   #18
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But "major failure" - no. Not even by the British authorities.
Major failure, absolutely.

It is British-controlled territory where an illegal activity is being allowed to continue that is netting millions of euros for the perpetrators. Continuing at record levels, this cannot be seen as anything but a major failure. If the UK authorities police the area, with a stated aim of deterring and preventing crime, then the absolute failure to do that is exactly that, a major failure.

All your preceding paragraphs were, sorry to say, waffle - effectively arguing the police need to overlook this crime because they need to more or less look at a bigger picture is effectively rubbish. As for the argument about security being a more important issue, this failure also affects security - the article itself says parts of the firing range are becoming no-go areas for the police force due to the presence of trappers at night, etc. If this is true, a double failure.

Imagine this were in some small quarter of southern Devon or Dorset - 800,000 birds were being illegally killed in a single autumn, the police were scaling back operations to avoid upsetting the locals - it would be a disgrace. There would be legitimate questions asked about the lack of police action.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 07:43   #19
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I'm with Jos on this one. Some individuals are making lots of money from criminal activities on land for which the British authorities, and hence 'we', are responsible.
True, Farnboro John, those authorities have a lot on their plate at the moment and keeping things calm with the locals is no doubt an objective, but this just sends out the wrong signals, and makes a hypocrisy of other claims by our Government on other similar environmental topics. Malta for example.....
I wrote once before to my MP on the topic, and it might be time for another letter. Has there been a petition on the topic?

As Jos said imagine if it was the Otterburn ranges (.....well actually there we come to grouse shooting estates....), or Salisbury plain, or Gibraltar.

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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 08:24   #20
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There is the perception. If they want a strong secure base, then having news stories about bird trappers running wild on the base performing illegal activities, and planting trees doesn't do the base any favours. Any number of Ne'er-do-wells and terrorists would view this base as an iconic yet soft target.

I accidentally went off piste onto MOD land near Salisbury Plain once, and had police descending on me from all directions within 5 minutes frog marching me off, and I was doing nothing illegal (apart from tresspassing you could say!).. What's the difference?
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 09:14   #21
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I can only agree with all of the points Jos makes below.

Ignoring all the waffle, the situation is that serious organised crime is being committed on an industrial scale on British territory. The only credible action by the UK authorities is to devote sufficient resources and effort to tackle that criminality.

We can talk all we like about the delicate political situation, but the fact is that the activities in question are illegal under Cypriot law, so what credible political leverage can be gained by the Cypriot political establishment? Complain that the British authorities are being too diligent in upholding the law?

The arguments about how to effectively punish the criminals involved and potential "quid pro quo" by the Cypriot authorities are rather extraordinary. I would expect the British authorities to deal with them according to the laws applicable to the SBA. As an ally and civilised state, I would expect the Cypriot authorities to deal with criminal acts by British servicemen in accordance with their judicial system.

At the very least, confiscating nets and clearing trapping sites would seem a straightforward measure if prosecuting serious criminality is all just too difficult for some.

Regarding funding: we are talking relatively paltry sums here. Maybe the overseas aid budget can be deployed - I believe there would be some spare cash in the pot if the funding for the Ethiopian Spicegirls is stopped http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016...pite-previous/.

As for the terrorism angle: as others have mentioned, it's hardly a glowing tribute to SBA security if poachers can operate with impunity.


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Major failure, absolutely.

It is British-controlled territory where an illegal activity is being allowed to continue that is netting millions of euros for the perpetrators. Continuing at record levels, this cannot be seen as anything but a major failure. If the UK authorities police the area, with a stated aim of deterring and preventing crime, then the absolute failure to do that is is exactly that, a major failure.

All your preceding paragraphs were, sorry to say, waffle - effectively arguing the police need to overlook this crime because they need to more or less look at a bigger picture is effectively rubbish. As for the argument about security being a more important issue, this failure also affects security - the article itself says parts of the firing range are becoming no-go areas for the police force due to the presence of trappers at night, etc. If this is true, a double failure.

Imagine this were in some small quarter of southern Devon or Dorset - 800,000 birds were being illegally killed in a single autumn, the police were scaling back operations to avoid upsetting the locals - it would be a disgrace. There would be legitimate questions asked about the lack of police action.
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Old Friday 17th March 2017, 16:42   #22
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I'm with Jos on this one. Some individuals are making lots of money from criminal activities on land for which the British authorities, and hence 'we', are responsible.
True, Farnboro John, those authorities have a lot on their plate at the moment and keeping things calm with the locals is no doubt an objective, but this just sends out the wrong signals, and makes a hypocrisy of other claims by our Government on other similar environmental topics. Malta for example.....
I wrote once before to my MP on the topic, and it might be time for another letter. Has there been a petition on the topic?

As Jos said imagine if it was the Otterburn ranges (.....well actually there we come to grouse shooting estates....), or Salisbury plain, or Gibraltar.

Mick
Exactly. Tory government: no interest whatever in our environment let alone someone else's. There is no appetite in Government for this fight.

Incidentally its an entirely wrong end of the stick to lump all MOD land together. A training area is not a base, even if it is right next to it and sovereign territory: its not defended, its outside the wire, its open access by default.

I spent most of my childhood playing on MOD training areas, and these days I spend a fair bit of time birding on them. Its only if you go somewhere sensitive (like the live artillery ranges near Larkhill on Salisbury Plain, for instance) that you are remotely likely to see a MOD plod. Most of the time you won't even see a soldier. There is plenty of dead time for the poachers.

And if you speak to the MOD conservation guys based at Catterick they can tell you that keeping local shooters from persecuting birds of prey even on MOD land in Britain is very difficult - insufficient resources and the need to be lucky all the time while they only have to be lucky once...

You will note I don't say its right. I just say it is what it is.

John
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 12:34   #23
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"The crime team is being increased from a squad of six to 11."

"Conservationists welcomed the move but point out that they must patrol a base that sprawls over 100 square miles."

Eleven policemen! There are more outside my local pub on an average Saturday night!

Both the Police and Soldiers are often shot at by armed trappers but are not allowed to fire back (pers comm)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37557924

These need a bit of pressure - http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/e...tml?country=CY
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 13:04   #24
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Letters to the Editor of The Times today (March 18th) include one titled 'Songbird Slaughter' by Chris Davies MEP 1999-2014.

It ends "British parliamentarians seem mostly unaware of their responsibilities. They should wake up and demand that the killing stops on military bases funded by the taxpayers they represent."

I plan to refer to this letter in mine to my MP. Can I suggest others do likewise?

Mick
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Old Saturday 18th March 2017, 15:34   #25
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Letters to the Editor of The Times today (March 18th) include one titled 'Songbird Slaughter' by Chris Davies MEP 1999-2014.

It ends "British parliamentarians seem mostly unaware of their responsibilities. They should wake up and demand that the killing stops on military bases funded by the taxpayers they represent."

I plan to refer to this letter in mine to my MP. Can I suggest others do likewise?

Mick
Spot on, good move.
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