Voluntary Bailiff Service

The Angling Trust

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2013 05:47pm
Leominster, County of Herefordshire
By The Angling Trust
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Poaching and fish theft are naturally of great concern to anglers - prompting Angling Trust Chairman Mike Heylin to envision the Voluntary Bailiff Service: carefully selected and trained volunteers supporting the work of Environment Agency Fishery Enforcement Officers.
Volunteering to help make a positive difference has always been a strong theme of British life - and Mike drew his inspiration from the volunteers of the Special Constabulary, who have provided the British police service with essential support for many years. Mike also knew that anglers are angling's greatest resource - possessed of immense local knowledge and out on the banks daily - and was confident that there would be enough volunteers to make the proposed service a reality.
This innovative idea was supported by the Environment Agency, which agreed to fund a pilot project in the South East (EASE) Region. A Project Board was appointed, which, from the Agency side, includes the National Fisheries Enforcement Campaigns Manager, Adrian Saunders, and Fisheries Technical Specialist Adrian Brightley, who was appointed Project Manager; the Board also includes Agency regional and area managers, area Fishery Team Leaders, and Angling Trust representatives - including Chairman Mike Heylin and Mark Owen, the Head of Freshwater. The Voluntary Bailiff Service is, therefore, both an exciting and important partnership between the Angling Trust and Environment Agency.

In the event Mike was proved absolutely right: there was and remains no shortage of volunteers, public spirited men and women determined to support the Agency's fight against poachers, fish thieves and rod licence dodgers. The first of these special people were inducted in May and September 2012.
It is important to understand from the outset, in fact, that being a Volunteer Bailiff is different to being a club bailiff. As explained in more detail below, the ultimate proposed aim is for certain Volunteer Bailiffs to be warranted and empowered identically to Environment Agency Fishery Enforcement Officers. All Volunteer Bailiffs must be Angling Trust members to be covered by insurance, and are bound by the Trust's Discipline & Grievance Procedure. All applicants have to pass a Criminal Records Bureau check, funded by the Angling Trust, before joining the Voluntary Bailiff Service.

Successful applicants are trained by the Environment Agency and Angling Trust during a mandatory one day induction. During this important day volunteers receive presentations on the Voluntary Bailiff Service's organisation and structure, and Agency procedures, intelligence gathering, reporting and expectations. Volunteers have the opportunity to meet existing Volunteer Bailiffs, Area Co-ordinators, and both Trust and Agency staff. Upon successful conclusion of this training, new Volunteer Bailiffs are issued a photo identity card, Volunteers' Handbook, and a Voluntary Bailiff Service pocket notebook.




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