EDINBURGH Detective Inspector Brian Stuart has been awarded a special commendation for his dedication to helping combat wildlife crime across the UK.
DI Stuart, who has been the head of the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) for four years, was handed the International Fund for Animal Welfare award by UK Environment Minister, Richard Benyon, at a ceremony in London.
Mr Benyon said: “I was immensely proud to present the commendation to DI Stuart. The work being done is vitally important in protecting our valuable natural resources, and this commitment deserves the highest recognition.”
The NWCU, which is based in Livingston, was established in 2006, and has gone from strength to strength under DI Stuart’s leadership. While delighted with the award, he was quick to acknowledge the hard work undertaken by his staff, which includes analysts and investigative officers.
“This achievement recognises the excellent work of my team and the wider partnership in fighting organised wildlife crime,” he said.
As a multi-agency police-led unit, DI Stuart and his staff work with other interest groups to tackle a variety of wildlife issues, including trade in endangered species and illegal ivory and bird-related offences.
The unit also has an international role and DI Stuart has pioneered two global initiatives, including an international operation co-ordinated by Interpol.
Given the challenging financial environment, he was particularly pleased to ensure the retention of crucial UK Government funding for the unit.
DI Stuart, 44, has been with Lothian and Borders Police since 1989. Initially based in north Edinburgh, covering the Leith and Drylaw areas, he was promoted to sergeant in 2000 at the Scottish Police College Probationer Training Unit before returning to the force, based in West Lothian. He became an inspector in 2005, based at the new Communications Centre at Bilston, before taking up his current role the following year.
Chief Constable David Strang said: “I am delighted that DI Stuart’s hard work and dedication has been recognised, and I hope his commendation will inspire his colleagues to continue the good work in the future.”
Meanwhile, DI Stuart’s tenure with the NWCU is due to finish next month, when he’ll move to another key post within the force. DI Stuart said: “I’ve enjoyed a number of varied and fulfilling roles, none more so than my time with the NCWU. I’m looking forward to the next step, and helping ensure Edinburgh remains a safe environment to live and work.”
DI Stuart’ wife, Kathryn, works in the Lothian and Borders Custodier’s Branch, based at the force’s HQ at Fettes. They live in west Edinburgh with children Rachael, 11, and eight-year-old Ross.