Meet the police officer tasked with keeping wildlife along our seaside safe
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Northumbria Police has had a number of Specialist Wildlife Officers in place across its area for a number of years as they work to protect animals and wildlife.
Now that role takes to the water as Northumbria Police’s first Marine Wildlife Officer hits the shores.
Dubbed Northumbria Police’s Aquaman, Marine Constable Paul Cullen will take on the role in addition to his duties under the Marine Unit.
His work will also take in investigating crimes such as harassing dolphins, illegal fishing and cruelty against animals such as seals.
The officer is looking forward to taking up his new role and is aiming to serve the maritime community, offering advice to those in need of support, as well as working to protect the animals living in it.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the new challenge.
“We’ve had incidents in the past where people have harassed marine wildlife and it’s great we now have a dedicated resource for these types of crimes.”
Pc Cullen is part of Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit, which is made up of specialist officers who are specially trained in diving and search techniques.
The team also regularly offer mutual aid and support to other forces and agencies including the Coastguard, Border Force and the fisheries.
Pc Cullen added: “We are privileged to see a varied amount of marine wildlife around our area and we should all be aware of our code of conduct.
“We want to protect our marine wildlife and the environment around it, we have a fantastic coastline in the North East which attracts a wealth of tourism every year and we want to keep it that way.
“We all have a responsibility to make sure everyone is protected and supported – and that includes Flipper and his friends too.”