Police Scotland have launched a new campaign to tackle wildlife crime across Scotland – and you can help by keeping your eyes open and reporting any suspicious activity on 101. Clare Borland, Social Media Officer at Police Scotland, reflects on the new campaign.
Between April 2014 and February 2015 nearly 250 wildlife crimes were reported to Police Scotland, and these incidents took place in both rural and urban environments. There’s a common misconception that wildlife crimes only take place in the countryside – this is not the case. Police have evidence that wildlife crime takes place across all communities.
Scotland has 6 priorities for wildlife crime – bat persecution, badger persecution, bird of prey persecution, poaching, freshwater pearl mussels and illegal trade – and the campaign focuses on these.
There are dedicated Wildlife Crime Liaison Officers across Scotland, and every report of wildlife crime will be investigated. On top of this, Police Scotland are providing some officers with extra training on how to deal with incidents of wildlife crime.
On launching the new campaign, Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said “Tackling wildlife crime is not just about law enforcement: it is about working with partners and the public to raise awareness and to prevent it happening. By the time we are involved it is too late, that creature is lost and our landscape is poorer for the loss.
“Scotland’s natural heritage is under threat from criminals preying on the country’s iconic wildlife, either for sport or many cases for their own gain. Wildlife crime doesn’t just happen in the countryside, it also occurs in urban areas. We have evidence of badger baiting taking place metres from housing estates, deer being poached from city parks, and bat roosts being destroyed. Wildlife crime occurs across all of our communities.
“We are committed to investigating wildlife crime. Our detection rate is increasing but investigations into wildlife crime can be difficult and prolonged and the areas covered can be vast and remote.
“Our new campaign calls on the public to help us put an end to wildlife crime, to keep their eyes open and report suspicious activity to protect Scotland’s wildlife heritage.”
You Can Help
Police Scotland are asking you to ‘keep your eyes open’ and report any suspicious activity on 101. If you see a wildlife crime in action, dial 999.
For more information on the campaign, visit Police Scotland’s website: www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/report-wildlife-crime