Environment Committee to take evidence on annual Scottish wildlife crime report

wildlife-crime-review-2015Next week (Tuesday 10 January 2017, 9.30am) the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee will hear evidence about the Government’s recent (2015) annual wildlife crime report.

In the past, this committee (the RACCE Committee as it was then called) has only taken evidence from Police Scotland, the Crown Office, and the Environment Minister. This year it is very encouraging to see that evidence will be heard from a wider range of stakeholders. That’s definitely progress and we applaud it.

The following are due to give evidence at next week’s hearing:

Session 1

Gary Aitken, Head of Wildlife & Environmental Crime Unit, COPFS

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson & Detective Chief Superintendant Sean Scott, Police Scotland

Session 2

Eddie Palmer, Chair, Scottish Badgers

Andy Smith, Committee Member, Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association

Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations, RSPB Scotland

Peter Charleston, Conservation Wildlife Crime Officer, Bat Conservation Trust

This evidence hearing should be fascinating. You’ll remember we blogged recently about the Government’s latest wildlife crime report (here) and we were highly critical of it because, according to RSPB Scotland, a number of raptor persecution crimes had been withheld from the report. We argued that as these were confirmed crimes, and they took place over two years ago, there was simply no justification for keeping them a secret and that by withholding these data, it undermined all confidence in the report’s trend analyses and made the whole process of annual reporting nothing more than a meaningless charade. Let’s hope questions are raised about this issue on Tuesday.

You’ll also remember that we blogged about Scottish Badger’s recent complaints to the Justice Committee about how crimes against badgers were being under-recorded (see here). Scottish Badgers reported 160 confirmed badger crimes over  a period of one year, whereas Police Scotland recorded only seven crimes in the same period, and none of those proceeded to prosecution. Let’s hope this issue is also raised on Tuesday.

The ECCLR hearing will be available to watch live on Holyrood tv and we’ll post a link to it on Tuesday morning.


3 Responses to “Environment Committee to take evidence on annual Scottish wildlife crime report”

  1. 1 Peter Shearer
    January 4, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    We can only begin to imagine the real scale of wildlife crime and the fact that the truth can be so easily suppressed should worry us all. If we can continue to highlight the issues and the scale of the problem, then eventually the public will begin to take notice and call for tougher action.

  2. January 4, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Lets hope the committee members have no connections to those either supporting or helping obscure, the very wildlife crimes we are trying to eradicate….getting something to a parliamentary committee is one thing, getting them to actually do anything is quite another – just as Mark Avery.

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