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Welsh Government funds the All-Wales Wildlife & Rural Crime Coordinator.


  • facilitate the work of the rural crime teams in each of the four police areas in Wales
  • work with partners and stakeholders in statutory and non-statutory organisations

What is Wildlife & Rural Crime

These are specific offences that usually occur within the countryside. They affect farming and less populated communities, or our wildlife, habitats, and heritage.

Wildlife crime is any activity that breaks the laws that protect wild animals and plants. These crimes may endanger a species to the point of extinction. Many animals suffer persecution and cruelty as a result of a wide range of criminal activities including:

  • poaching
  • baiting
  • coursing
  • hunting
  • trading
  • poisoning
  • the destruction of habitat

Rural crime can be difficult to define as it includes a broad range of crimes. Some of these are also found – and can be more prevalent – in urban spaces, for instance domestic abuse. But the:

  • circumstances surrounding the incidents of crime
  • response to those crimes
  • access to support for those individuals and communities

can be very different in rural areas.

Crimes more unique to rural communities include farm, equines, and heritage. Crimes affecting the environment, including fly-tipping and pollution, also affect agriculture. These crimes, along with theft and livestock worrying, impact on food production. Heritage crime means offences which affect the value of heritage buildings and sites. For example, damage to ancient monuments and illegal metal detecting.

Police and Welsh Government Strategy

In April 2023, Welsh Government and the four police areas launched the first joint strategy to tackle wildlife and rural crime. The strategy sets out the priority areas and the key objectives.

Other useful documents  

National Police Chiefs’ Council, National Wildlife Crime Unit, and National Rural Crime Unit’s (2022) Rural and Wildlife Crime Strategy for 2022-2025 (on