The much talked about voluntary bailiff scheme has recently been initiated in the Midlands area when a training day took place at Upton Warren sailing club in Bromsgrove. The society wasted no time in appointing members to attend and now boasts one current VB with several more to attend future training days.
The scheme was piloted in south-east England in May 2012 and has been seen as a huge success resulting in an intelligence-led reporting and response system that can be referenced and reacted to swiftly and efficiently.
The role of the voluntary bailiff is to act as the eyes and ears of the enforcement teams of the angling trust and environment agency, issued with warrant cards and official notebooks the voluntary bailiffs patrol lakes, rivers and canals looking for evidence of poaching and illegal fishing, details of patrols and any findings are uploaded to a secure website that is monitored by enforcement officers, should a significant issue arise as a result of these reports the enforcement team will investigate and take appropriate measures to prevent any further offences taking place.
Members with any information regarding illegal activities should report incidents to a club official or to the website, the details will be forwarded to the voluntary bailiffs and uploaded to create a database of incidents, if certain water records repeated uploads it will be regarded as a hotspot and will then be targeted by enforcement officers. Members should not approach any persons they suspect of illegal activities but make a note of any useful information such as date, time, description, vehicle details or any other information considered to be relevant, no matter how small the detail may be it could be of vital importance to protect the future of the societies fisheries. If an offence is in progress and it is safe to do so members should contact the environment agency hotline on 0800 807060 to report the incident.
At the societies May meeting, we will have guest speakers from the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency to give a presentation on enforcement in our area including both the voluntary bailiff service and club bailiffing issues. Any members interested in becoming a club bailiff should contact the head bailiff, Ian Birchall, for more information or alternatively join us at the May meeting.