07
Mar
16

Decision on SSPCA increased powers due “shortly”

sspca logoRegular blog readers will know all about the proposal to provide increased investigatory powers to the SSPCA to enable them to investigate a wider suite of wildlife crime than they already do. We’ve been blogging about it since February 2011 when it was first suggested by former MSP Peter Peacock (see here for a timeline of events since then).

The public consultation on this issue closed 18 months ago in September 2014 but still no decision has been announced.

On 3rd February 2016, the cross-party Rural Affairs, Climate Change & Environment (RACCE) Committee wrote to Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod to ask for an update. The Committee said:

In your response to the Committee’s letter on the Annual Report 2013, you indicated you would keep the Committee updated on developments with regard to a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the extension of powers in wildlife crime investigation to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA). To date, the Committee has not received an update and the Scottish Government has not published its conclusions resulting from the consultation. The Committee requests details of when your analysis and conclusions from the consultation will be published, and expects this to be in good time for the Committee to include this in its legacy report to its successor committee(s)“.

We’re not sure when the Committee’s Legacy Report is due to be completed but would guess that it’s imminent as the Scottish Parliament dissolves at midnight on 23rd March in preparation for the election on 5th May 2016.

On 25th February 2016, Environment Minister Dr McLeod wrote back to the RACCE Committee and said this about the SSPCA consultation:

The analysis of the consultation results were published on 22 January 2015. I appreciate that this proposal has been under consideration for some time. It does however raise some complex issues as you will have heard from ACC Graham when he gave evidence on the matter during the Committee’s session on the 2014 Wildlife Crime Annual Report. I have some further matters to clarify with the SSPCA, however I do hope to be able to report on the Scottish Government’s position on this issue shortly“.

The issues raised really aren’t complex at all. We’ve been through them over and over again – here’s a summary. The bottom line is, does this Scottish Government want to use every available mechanism to crack down on wildlife crime, and particularly on illegal raptor persecution, as it so often claims, or not? We’re about to find out…

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6 Responses to “Decision on SSPCA increased powers due “shortly””


  1. 1 anmac
    March 7, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    We await the decision with bated breath.

  2. 2 Chris Roberts
    March 7, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    It will certainly set them apart from the Westminster government if they do.

  3. 3 U. Topia
    March 8, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Hopefully the SNP will do what everyone who voted for them wants

    And that is to make real positive changes in the interests of Scotland and everyone that lives within such a beautiful country despite the attempts of those who have shown themselves to be selfish and destructive.

    Scotland’s nature belongs to us all.

  4. 4 Andrew
    March 8, 2016 at 9:24 am

    What does “soon” mean when uttered by a politician?

  5. 5 Tony Warburtopn MBE
    March 8, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Andrew, it means “don’t hold your breath”! I’m certainly not holding mine on this one!

  6. 6 Adam
    March 9, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    ‘I have some further matters to clarify with the SSPCA’

    This seem to suggest that SSPCA inspector will get extended powers, but maybe with some limitations or conditions attached. It’s quite spectacular that this consultation has been dragging on for 18 months – the issues are not THAT complex!


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