Herts police officer PC Jos Bartlett earns lifetime achievement award for dedication to wildlife
A wildlife crime officer from Hertfordshire has received a lifetime achievement award for her dedication to the role over the past three decades.
PC Jos Bartlett, from the constabulary's rural operational support team (ROST), said she was "surprised but honoured" to have received the accolade at the annual National Wildlife Crime Enforcers conference.
It was presented to her by the Chief Constable of Cheshire, Darren Martland, and Paul De Ornellas, the chief wildlife advisor for WWF, in front of colleagues from across the country.
"It was a complete surprise to get the award, I didn't have a clue," said PC Bartlett. "But I felt very honoured."
"It's not really a role you do to seek reward; wildlife is voiceless so it can't thank you for the work you're doing, you just get on with it."
She joined Hertfordshire Constabulary in 1990 and became a wildlife crime officer soon after, fulfilling the role alongside her day-to-day duties on intervention (999 response team) and safer neighbourhood teams.
"I grew up on a swan sanctuary, so I always had a love of wildlife and an interest in wildlife crime," said PC Bartlett.
In 2010 she joined the constabulary's newly-formed ROST, which provides advice and guidance on rural, wildlife, heritage, environmental and equine matters both to colleagues and to members of the public.
"It's been really good getting a full-time unit to deal with these matters," said PC Bartlett. "We're very lucky in Hertfordshire that we have a team to support front-line officers with education and advice on these issues and crimes."
Her role has seen her deal with various wildlife crimes across the county, including CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species) matters and various persecution offences.
She has regularly supported Border Force at Heathrow Airport, along with wildlife crime officers from around the country, on Operation Thunderbird, a global, Interpol-led operation tackling the illegal trade in wildlife.
"It's always interesting and one in which I can use my experience as both a wildlife crime officer and also a search team officer," said PC Bartlett.
"We assist in the postal centres, alongside Border Force, and scan and check packages entering and leaving the UK. We've had many seizures of goods over the years, ranging from ivory and rare plants to counterfeit goods. I even found a counterfeit passport which was sewn into the shoulder pads of a garment from Nigeria.
"I've created such good links with the Border Force team at Heathrow that I was asked to represent the police and spend some time, one to one, with Prince William, talking to him about how the police across the country deal with the illegal trade in endangered species. He was allotted five minutes to speak to me in his busy schedule, but after 15 minutes we were still talking as he was genuinely interested in the work we do. Definitely a very memorable moment in my career."
More by this authorSinead Corr