Another dead buzzard in Scotland: another pathetic police response

6754Police Scotland has issued an embarrassingly vague press release following the discovery of a dead buzzard in suspicious circumstances.

According to the BBC report (here), which is presumably based upon the police’s press release, the dead bird was found “near the village of Tomatin in the Highlands” by a member of the public on 9th December 2013.

Police said an examination of the buzzard suggested it had not died of natural causes“.

In other words then, it had been illegally killed. The cause of death has not been mentioned, and nor has the specific location.

Given that Tomatin is in the heart of grouse moor country, and that this area is a well known raptor persecution hotspot on a par with the Angus Glens, we can’t help but question why this press release has been designed to be so deliberately cryptic. Who are the police trying to protect?

It’s not the first time, either. In June 2013 they issued a similarly cryptic press release following the discovery of a dead red kite in Aberdeenshire. They said: “After recovery of the carcass, a post mortem was carried out. This revealed that the bird’s death was not by natural causes“. It was later reported that the kite had been shot (see here).

In September 2010, they issued a vague appeal for information following the discovery of an osprey in the Highlands that died from what they described as “deliberately inflicted injuries“. It was later reported that the osprey had been shot (see here).

Is it any wonder that we’ve lost complete confidence in Police Scotland to investigate this type of wildlife crime? What other offence would trigger such an uninformative police statement? Have you ever seen a police response like it? It’s like a new game show, ‘Guess the Crime’, hosted by Police Scotland: Something illegal happened in the Central Belt four weeks ago. We’re not telling you what it was or where it happened; you’ll have to guess. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police‘.

Public anger over the continued illegal killing of raptors on grouse moors is already at an all-time high following the death of golden eagle ‘Fearnan’ last month, found poisoned in the Angus glens. The police’s continued unwillingness to provide transparency over these investigations is sure to add to that sense of fury. These criminals are getting away time after time, and it’s not hard to see why.

If you want to express your frustration and dissatisfaction with the way Police Scotland are behaving during these wildlife crime ‘investigations’ (and we use that term loosely), please email Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse and ask him for an explanation: ministerforenvironment@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

We know that hundreds of you emailed him just before Xmas following the death of golden eagle Fearnan. Don’t underestimate how powerful that volume of messages from the public can be.

15 Responses to “Another dead buzzard in Scotland: another pathetic police response”

  1. 1 Marco McGinty
    January 3, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Does Richard Benyon still own Glenmazeran Estate? This estate is near Tomatin. If Benyon still owns this estate, could the police be trying to protect him?

    On the subject of the police statement, I have to agree, as it is an embarrassingly vague piece of work. They have described the find as “near Tomatin”, and have had the cheek to appeal for “Anyone who lives nearby or may have frequented the area during outdoor pursuits activities and may have information regarding this crime…to contact the police”. What is defined as near Tomatin? Is it within a five mile radius? Is it within a ten mile radius? Is it within a twenty mile radius? Is it more than this? Is it east of the A9? Is it west of the A9? How the hell can anyone help when they don’t know the exact area? Some reports concerning the recent suicide bombings in Volgograd considered this to be near the Winter Olympics site in Sochi, some 400 miles away. So, a definition of near would be helpful, but even better would be an exact location.

    This vagueness (and protection of the landowner?) could also lead to the loss of valuable information. What if someone did have information and forwarded it to the police, only for corrupt procedures to ignore or bury the evidence? Another reason why people should make all attempts to contact the RSPB or the SSPCA before contacting the police.

    Ah well, it looks like another email will be heading its way to the inept Wheelhouse.

    • 2 nirofo
      January 4, 2014 at 2:26 am

      Why should the police want to protect anyone if they know a crime has been committed, or is it a case of there’s one law for us and one law for them, a law where the police turn a blind eye if it’s anything to do with wildlife crime on the Red Grouse shooting estates, oh that’s alright sir didn’t know it was you, touching of forelock, wink wink. It stinks all the way up to the highest levels.

      I bet the police would be all over you like a rash if you were discovered poaching their beloved Red Grouse, they’d probably ransack your house, confiscate your car, harass your family and throw you in the nick for starters. This would be closely followed by a well publicised court appearance where you would receive maximum media coverage, a prison sentence and a hefty fine. Of course, you would have to make do with the best second rate defence lawyer you could afford, (assuming you could afford one at all) while the prosecution would bring in the money no object big gun lawyers to make sure you were found guilty.

  2. 3 jack black
    January 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    A press release is not an alternative to an investigation………………..does it increase your your chances of finding witnesses by being vague about the location of a crime…………………….

    It is obvious to all that Police Scotland have major difficulty investigating this type of crime and various attempts to improve this ( wildlife crime officers, thematic review, wildlife fiscals. vicarious liability, etc, etc) have clearly not worked.

    There was more investigations, searches, prosecutions and convictions 20 years ago. Why was that?

    The current system does not work……………………..perhaps that is the intention?

    Suggestions please….!

  3. 4 Chris Roberts
    January 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    That whole area is well known for raptor persecution.

  4. 5 nirofo
    January 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    [Ed: this post has been deleted]

    • 8 Marco McGinty
      January 4, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      For taxidermy purposes? Nevertheless, a disgusting crime that should see the full force of the law applied, providing that the perpetrators are caught.

      And I have to agree with you on Police Scotland somehow managing to issue a statement on this crime within a few hours of the find, and managing to issue a precise location. What is the difference between this crime, when a statement is released shortly after the incident, and the plethora of raptor deaths that barely merit a mention unless it is weeks or even many months after the finds?

      With the brief details revealed in the badger incident statement, anyone would be able to make a sensible guess as to where they were found, even down to a few metres, thus allowing any person that may have been in the area prior to the incident to come forward with any information they may have. However, as for the vague buzzard statement, almost a month after the incident, people just don’t have a clue. I’m still trying to figure out exactly where “near Tomatin” is.

  5. 9 Marco McGinty
    January 4, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Completely unconnected to this story, but the following is an insight into the ways other crimes are handled in this so-called fair society;

    According to the Aberdeen Press and Journal, two Aberdeen FC supporters have been told they “almost inevitably” face jail, after being caught with smoke grenades and flares at a recent football match. I am not condoning the possession of these items (most likely to be used for non-violent purposes), but is the possession of smoke grenades and flares at a football match that much worse than possession of banned poisons, or the possession of illegal firearms? Is the possession of a smoke grenade or flare at a football match that much worse than the deliberate illegal shooting, poisoning, trapping and bludgeoning of Scotland’s protected wildlife?

    The UK in 2014, fast-becoming the most corrupt country in the world.

    • 10 Circus maxima
      January 4, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      At least the SGA have not managed to offer to any excuses…..for the buzzard, the badgers….or even the poor woman who was mauled by a red stag. Maybe they cant manage the one fingered typing with a hang-over?

      • 11 Grouseman
        January 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        Jesus you will be blaming the keepers for training the stag to attack transvestites next what kind of excuse are you looking for!!??

        • 12 nirofo
          January 5, 2014 at 6:46 pm

          Why do you say that, is it one of the things you go in for, you know, your own personal hang up thing ???

          And what’s Jesus got to do with it.

      • 13 Marco McGinty
        January 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm

        They haven’t offered any excuses (yet!), simply because they haven’t commented on the matter.

        And yet again, Grouseman manages to issue an incorrect statement. His very first contribution of 2014 is woefully inaccurate, unenlightened, bigoted and ignorant, but then again we honestly can’t expect anything else from a section of society that has refused to proceed into 20th century attitudes, never mind the 21st century. A section of society that ignores the laws of the land because of their outdated, wrong and selfish beliefs.

        For your information, Grouseman, the person attacked by the stag was a woman and not a transvestite.

  6. January 5, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I find it really disappointing that when someone makes a tongue-in-cheek comment they are then personally attacked. Is it not in the interests of everyone involved in raptor issues that we try to get a representative balanced perspective on all issues presented?

    • 15 Marco McGinty
      January 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      And others find it disappointing when they read many an ignorant statement, statements that are usually issued by those involved in driven grouse and pheasant shooting. So, if the woman involved in the stag incident happened to be Asian or of Asian descent, it would have been perfectly acceptable to say she was a Paki, even if her roots lay in Sri Lanka, India or Malaysia?

      It’s all very well having a joke about things, but this woman is seriously ill in hospital, and this is not the time to be poking fun at her decisions to lead her life the way she has chosen to.

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