App-lying the law
Wildlife crime app launched
An app has been launched that will enable people to record and report suspected cases of wildlife crime directly to Police Scotland via their iPhone.
The app is the brainchild of former Wildlife Crime Education Officer, Andy Turner who was looking for a way to improve awareness, detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland.
The app allows users to access basic guidelines on do's and don'ts at a crime scene, and complete an on-screen form to record the suspected wildlife crime. Users can also attach two photographs which are automatically tagged with a GPS reference of the location. The information is then sent to Police Scotland by email.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and Chair of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, Mr Paul Wheelhouse said:
“This reporting app will be an extremely useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime, and I would like to thank all those involved in its development.
“Wildlife crime incidents can often go unreported. I hope that the app will be used to provide valuable information to wildlife crime officers, and help us continue to build a more accurate picture of the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland.”
Andy Turner said:
“Scotland has a population of 5.3 million people. With more and more of these people now accessing the countryside an excellent opportunity exists to raise awareness of both wildlife crime and legal countryside practices and improve reporting of crime by employing readily available mobile phone technology.”
Police Scotland Wildlife Crime Coordinator, Sergeant Andy Mavin said:
“The Wildlife Crime App is an excellent idea that I am sure will improve both the accuracy and efficiency of reporting and improve the overall detection of wildlife crime. The ability to tag a GPS location to a report will assist Officers in locating the incident – which by their nature are often very remote locations – while adding to evidential value.”
Users of the App are reminded not to interfere with legal countryside practices and it is important to distinguish between these and wildlife crime. If in doubt, however, users are advised to pass any information on to the police, to allow them to assess the situation and leave evidence in place so as to not damage the evidential trail. The app also reminds users not to touch potentially dangerous traps or poisons, and never to approach suspects.
The App is available to download free via http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/Wildlife-Habitats/paw-scotland/ or https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/paws-crime-app/id728400887?ls=1&mt=8
Whilst it is initially only available for the iPhone, it is hoped that the application will eventually be rolled out to other mobile devices.
The Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland includes the police, conservationists, land management groups and the Scottish Government, who have come together to fight all forms of wildlife crime in Scotland.