Unknown to PC Thomas her work with the Angling Trust had earned her a Certificate of Excellence, one of only two such awards made nationally by the Trust each year.
Regional Enforcement Support Manager for the Angling Trust, Nevin Hunter said: “This award is so well deserved. Emily has provided support to the Building Bridges Team and Voluntary Bailiff Service patrolling, attending events, supported training of Police Officers and most importantly being instrumental in helping to secure extended powers for PCSOs to check fishing licences.”
“This adds so much to the potential to enforce fisheries legislation across Wiltshire. Today’s event is typical of the work that Emily has done in supporting us and we know that events like these are so important for the Police as well to build links too hard to reach communities.”
The aim of the day was to build links with young anglers and their families from this part of Wiltshire and help teach them how to comply with legislation. This is particularly important when introducing migrant communities, who often have great enthusiasm for angling, to the hobby in this country. Some 26 young people and their parents attended the day to learn how to fish under the guidance of Voluntary Bailiffs.
Superintendent Liz Coles, Wiltshire Police County Operations and strategic lead for rural crime, said: “Our partnership with the Angling Trust has benefits for both organisations when increasing the effectiveness of fisheries enforcement that helps protect the stocks in the closed season and safeguards the sport.”
“In June 2021, Wiltshire Police became the first force in the country to designate their Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) with the power to request a rod licence from people who are fishing. I am delighted that the Angling Trust has recognised the hard work of PC Thomas to highlight the need and making this happen.”
If you are fishing you should have on your person your rod licence and if you are a member of a club then your membership card too. A Police Officer or PCSO can request to see these and they must be produced. If you do not have a rod licence you can be prosecuted by the Environment Agency. If you choose to fish illegally on a private stretch of river you are committing offences under the Theft Act.
Anyone witnessing illegal fishing incidents in progress can report it directly to the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported to police on 101 or anonymously to Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.