My profile

The author recovering a poisoned golden eagle from Millden Estate, Glenesk, Angus, on 13 July 2009.

The author recovering a poisoned golden eagle from Millden Estate, Glenesk, Angus, on 13 July 2009.

I joined Perth and Kinross Constabulary in 1966, serving first of all as a police officer in Dunblane. I was then transferred to Perth shortly before Perth and Kinross Constabulary was amalgamated with Dundee City Police and Angus Constabulary to form Tayside Police. In these early days I very much specialised in dealing with poaching cases, particularly the poaching of salmon and deer. Since that time I have served at Force Headquarters, Crieff and Kinross. Most of my service since 1980 was spent in CID and HQ Drug Squad, which covered the whole force area. I retired as a serving officer in 1997 with the rank of inspector, and also having had the role of force wildlife crime officer for the previous four years. After 6 hours retirement – possibly one of the shortest ‘retirements’ on record – I was re-employed as the force wildlife crime officer in a civilian capacity, an appointment probably helped by my knowledge of dealing with poaching, and a huge interest in natural history, farming, shooting, fishing and the countryside in general.

In 1999 I was presented with the WWF UK Wildlife Enforcer of the Year Award, and received the MBE for services to policing in 2001, followed by a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. I was presented with a Chief Constable’s Certificate of Merit in 2007 in recognition of my wildlife law enforcement work. Most recently I was presented with the WWF award Wildlife Crime Operation of the Year 2013, which was a joint police, SNH and SEPA investigation initiated when a large number of freshwater pearl mussels were killed during a mini hydro electric scheme construction.

As can be seen under ‘Books’ I am the author of four books on wildlife crime and one on wildlife. The first book, Wildlife Detective, was written to accompany the BBC 2 series Wildlife Detectives, a TV series following my work and that of several of my colleagues in other police forces in Scotland.

I retired in 2011, and shortly thereafter was employed as an intelligence officer with the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit. I had to retire on ill health in January 2015 and now maintain an acre and a half of garden. I recently completed a year-long wildlife survey on a sporting estate in Highland Perthshire with an amazing biodiversity of birds and mammals. During the year I identified 89 species of birds including tree pipit, white-tailed eagle, redstart, goshawk, red kite and, something not seen on too many estates, at least eight nesting pairs of buzzards.

I live on the outskirts of the village of Methven in Perthshire with my wife, Jan, Molly the dog, 22 khaki Campbell ducks and 6 hens. I have three daughters, four grand-daughters and a grandson. My main hobbies now are gardening, writing, giving talks, watching wildlife in the garden and walking in the countryside.

6 Responses to My profile

  1. Great blog. I stumbled across your blog after a google search for wildlife blogs. Peace, T

  2. sam says:

    Great blog thank you Alan! I am a detective in the met looking to leave and do something in wildlife crime. Would love to hear any advice.

    • Sam
      I get a great number of these queries. Some police forces in England have civilianised their wildlife crime officer role. May be worth making enquiries in this direction. The Met, as you’ll know, have a small and very active wildlife crime unit. They may know of something. The National Wildlife Crime Unit have three retired police officers as investigative support officers, though I think the one that is working on a temporary basis will be finishing because of funding issues. Doesn’t bode well for any expansion there. Other options might be the League against Cruel Sports, which has at least two retired officers on their staff, or RSPCA? Sorry can’t help further.
      Regards
      Alan

  3. Sam says:

    Thank you Alan that’s a great help.

  4. Again, I am someone who has just stumbled on your blog while researching sheep worrying for a novel set in Orkney. Absolutely fascinating and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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