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Going wild for a prime-time TV audience

Force’s very own ‘Pet Detective’ stars in documentary

Neighbourhood officer Lee Davison admits he’s no Ace Ventura but he does answer to ‘Pet Detective’ when colleagues discuss protecting wildlife with him.

His passion for keeping the countryside safe is evident as TV viewers will have deduced from the third instalment of BBC One’s Our Cops in the North. 

Cameras followed Northumbria’s wildlife officer as he investigated poaching crimes and the devastating impact it can have on farmers.

As part of a specialised team, PC Davison is responsible for protecting rural communities against organised criminals who could steal tens of thousands of pounds of machinery.

But he is has also been branded ‘Pet Detective’ as his job also sees him protect wildlife including birds of prey, livestock, seals and even dolphins off the coat of Berwick.

PC Davison said: “These types of crimes can have a huge impact, financially and emotionally on farmers and the public – not to mention the devastating impact on the environment and the countryside we love.

“We also work alongside partners and organisations like RSPCA and Farmwatch to monitor and police issues facing communities.

“I’m no Ace Ventura but I certainly have a soft spot for animals.”

He added: “We have such a diverse area and the programme showed that despite having some very busy city centres, we also have a beautiful countryside and we play an important role in protecting everyone and everything that lives there.”

The good work PC Davison and his team carry out involves initiatives such as Operation Checkpoint which sees surrounding forces coming together to tackle rural crime. A large part of the work carried out in these operations involves volunteers working alongside officers to safeguard communities and identify suspects.

He went on: “We’ve got fantastic relationships with partners which prove incredibly beneficial when carrying out enquiries.

“It is a vast geographical area to police, with rolling hills and fields, and we have a responsibility to those communities and farmers to continue our committed work around policing and protecting livestock.”

“Whether you’re in the far stretches of rural Northumberland or one of our more built up areas, our team is here to support victims and identify suspects – no matter the crime and no matter the place.”

The third episode of the prime-time series also featured the force’s Detective Chief Inspector John Bent and his role as senior investigating officer.

The programme was told how DCI Bent was a late developer in policing terms – following in his brother’s footsteps the day after his 27th birthday.

After 24 years in the job he sees the most interesting and most complicated cases – which tend to be homicides – as the epitome of being a detective.

High pressure and gruelling 100-hour weeks lead to the “ultimate ambition to bring some kind of justice to a family”, he told the programme.

“You can never change the circumstances of what has happened, but your role is to build the best evidential case to ensure those responsible are brought to justice,” he concluded.

A further three episodes of Our Cops in the North will be aired later in the year.

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