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National Police Wildlife Crime Officers Training Course

National Police Wildlife Crime Officers Training Course:seo-training


Dates released for 2023:

Module One – Foundation

The once five day PWCO course is now delivered in a priority-based, condensed format delivered over Teams for three days called Module One. The national priority areas are covered which includes Badgers, Bats, CITES, Birds Of Prey, Hare Coursing and Poaching. Inputs are also delivered on Health and Safety and the Hunting Act.

Maximum – 2 places per force.

Dates for 2024 are:

16/01/2024 to 18/01/2024 – FULL

12/03/2024 to 14/03/2024 – FULL

14/05/2024 to 16/05/2024 – spaces available

05/09/2024 to 05/09/2024 – spaces available

12/11/2024 to 14/11/2024 – spaces available

More dates will be announced in the next months so please await a confirmed date before sending a booking request


Module Two – PWCO Class Licence

Licence to carry out wildlife crime investigation (CL30) – GOV.UK (  Please read before you attend this course.

Each will run 0900-10:30am – hosted by NWCU & Natural England.

Dates for 2024 are:

8th February – spaces available
21st March – spaces available
30th May – spaces available


Module Three – Animal Welfare Act Police powers

This will be training over Teams in the Animal Welfare Act and police powers 0900-12:45, lunch then 13:30 – 15:00 training with the RSPCA Special Operations Unit covering a range of organised wildlife & domestic animal crime.

Dates for 2023 are:

22nd November – spaces available

Dates for 2024 are:

23rd January – spaces available

19th March – spaces available

22nd May – spaces available


Module 4 – Wildlife Forensics Practical

Dates for 2024 will be announced here/on DISC as soon as they are confirmed. Please do not send booking requests before dates are announced. We will hopefully repeat the regional sessions and venues with the addition of a further date for the Northern forces (NE & NW ideally). If you have a free venue (either police or non-police) with a classroom, outdoor green space and facilities for grabbing a hot drink, then do please email your suggestions to us.


To request a place on any of the above modules (modules 1 to 4), or if you have a query regarding police training please contact NWCU (for police email only).


Module 5 – CITES course (2x days)

NWCU, Border Force & JNCC are looking at options and when this is decided information will appear here/on DISC. Please do not email NWCU to book places at this time.




Q: Do officers whom have previously done the 5 day PWCO or an in house version of it in force, need to complete all the essential Modules 1-4 ?

A: No. The ‘new’ style PWCO course is entirely voluntary for those that feel they need it or wish to complete them to gain an NWCU certificate. It does not in any way impact whether you can take on WCO investigations if you have previous training or are an experienced WCO. Purely a matter of choice. However for all new PWCOs, we would ask that they book with NWCU for the essential modules 1-4 and gain their certification with NWCU. Again none of this is mandatory training so down to the individual and their line manager/Force Lead/Coordinator. 

Q: Do officers have to do Module 1 to be able to take Module 2,/3 or 4 or 2, 3 & 4 or a combo of?

A: No. You can choose those Modules most relevant to you however for the new PWCOs we strongly recommend they complete Modules 1-4 and they will also gain PWCO certification from NWCU. Officers booking on Module 4 need to have knowledge of police powers therefore it is highly recommended they have taken Module 1 before attending Module 4. 

Q: We want to train more than 2 officers, can we ask for a spare place if there is one?

A: Sorry NWCU cannot facilitate 3rd reserve lists. In the unlikely event that a course is undersubscribed nearing it’s date, we will make an announcement inviting more than 2 places per force.

Q: My force needs an overview day on wildlife crime – how can I book this?

A:  Craig works for NWCU part time but continues to run a small number of bespoke courses for forces in 2023 so please contact him direct on these matters to see if it is feasible. The national PWCO course is now run by NWCU so should you have a question on the PWCO modules please direct queries to NWCU (for police email only).

Q: What are the other advanced modules and when can I book myself on these?

A: These are still in the planning stages, with the priority focus to book Modules 1 – 4 and sourcing of Forensic Module 4 venues.  Below is a draft of the advance modules, many will be over Teams. Please do not email to book these yet – a DISC update and NWCU website entry will go live when the advanced modules are confirmed.

Again – still in the planning stages so please do not request any bookings on Modules 5-16 yet.