Wildlife Crime in Scotland
First report published
Raptor poisonings have dropped dramatically in the last three years though other forms of persecutions remain high according to a report published today.
Figures published earlier this year show raptor poisoning incidents have fallen from thirty in 2009 to three in 2012. This report shows there were ten further police recorded raptor crimes in 2012 ranging from egg theft to trapping and shooting.
The report illustrates, for the first time in one publication, the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland. It brings together key data from the Scottish Government Justice Department, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Police Scotland and the National Wildlife Crime Unit.
As well as detailing offences from 2012 the report lays the foundations for building a clearer picture of trends in wildlife crime in Scotland. As the data series develops it will provide greater clarity year-on-year and guide future action for the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime – PAW Scotland.
The report also includes:
* Court proceedings for wildlife crime offences over the last five years
* Police recorded crimes for the same time period
* Recent legislative changes by the Scottish Government
* Future direction of wildlife crime policy
Environment and Climate Change Minister and Chair of PAW Scotland Paul Wheelhouse said:
“I welcome the publication of this report which is the first of its kind in Scotland. This marks an important milestone in bringing together the data which is so important in helping us understand and combat wildlife crime and it provides a basis for further refinement as data quality improves.
“We must not forget that underlying each and every statistic many of the wildlife offences highlighted entail great cruelty and suffering. Badger offences, hunting with dogs and other acts of cruelty to animals are highlighted in the report. It is extremely disappointing in 2011/2012 these particular three offences numbered 68 recorded crimes. As a civilised society we simply cannot not tolerate this level of ill-treatment of our wildlife by individuals pursuing perverted pastimes .
“2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and it is appropriate that this first report has been produced now. It is our responsibility to protect the flora and fauna of this nation and I will continue to work hard alongside our PAW Scotland partners to deliver improved reporting in this area with the on-going aim of reducing and eliminating wildlife crime in Scotland. This will take time and effort from all involved and although not complacent, I am confident that actions the Scottish Government has delivered to date will continue to bring change.”
ACC Malcolm Graham, of Police Scotland, said:
"As this report highlights, since the establishment of Police Scotland there has been an increase in the number of Wildlife Crime Liaison Officers (WCLOs) to cover all 14 territorial policing divisions as well as the appointment of a dedicated National Coordinator.
"These changes have already paid significant dividends allowing more opportunities for partnership working with greater local ownership and expertise. Police Scotland is committed to ensuring that wildlife crime is tackled effectively and that those who cause harm and damage to our environment are brought to justice.
"The new wildlife crime policing structures are complemented by a real enthusiasm amongst Wildlife Crime Liaison Officers to make a significant impact on this unacceptable form of criminality and to work in close harmony with those other agencies with which we have a joint responsibility to protect the natural assets of Scotland.”
PAW Scotland – www.PAW.Scotland.gov.uk
2012 Annual Report - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/09/2382