Keeping in mind the frail intelligence network in the state on wildlife-related crimes, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has decided to train forest officers as ‘master trainers’ on intelligence gathering and these officers will further train other staff in their respective states.
The bureau will also train defense personnel deployed at base camps on the border to gather intelligence on wildlife-related crimes.
Wildlife activists said that while the police are trained in intelligence gathering, forest officers lack the skill of developing networks, identifying sources and handling them well to extract information. That’s why over 80% wildlife crime is reported after it has already been committed and not before it.
“It’s important for the field staff and officers to understand the importance of intelligence. That’s why we are planning a module on training master trainers in each state so that they can train other staff,” said Tilottama Varma, additional director WCCB.
The module will roll out in May-June and will be conducted in groups of 20-30 forest officers of the additional conservator of forest (ACF) rank. Separate training will be imparted to officers for northern, eastern, western, southern and central states.
“Training will be given by officers at the bureau and some topmost IPS officers working in the field,” she added.
WCCB is concerned with the low priority given to intelligence for which many states do not have a proper structure. States like Uttarakhand have been demanding the formation of State Wildlife Crime Control Bureaus (SWCCB), but nothing has been done in this regard.
The bureau feels it’s the government that has to initiate a proposal in this regard.
In the absence of an organised bureau, intelligence is handled on an ad hoc basis. “There should be a strategy to keep informers. In case an officer is transferred, the person taking over can keep in touch with the informers. This simply needs a better strategy,” Rajeev Mehta, wildlife activist said.
The Bureau had also trained Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Security Force and other forces. But, will now focus on training the personnel in base camps to help develop a network and gather information so as to avert wildlife crime. (Hindustan Times)