In November 2014, Dave Thompson, the local MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, wrote to the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, to ask for a review of how Police Scotland had handled the investigation into the deaths of 22 raptors that had been found poisoned near Conon Bridge (the Ross-shire Massacre). The Police had been severely criticised for their handling of this case, not just for the investigation itself but also for what many of us believed to be an appalling media strategy. We blogged about it here.
Here is a copy of Dave Thompson’s letter to the Cabinet Secretary:
We didn’t hear anything further so an FoI was recently submitted to the Justice Department to find out what had happened.
It turns out that in December 2014 Mr MacAskill’s successor, Michael Matheson, had responded to Dave Thompson’s request by stating that he couldn’t comment about a live, on-going police investigation but suggested that Mr Thompson should raise any concerns with the Chief Constable. Here is a copy of Mr Matheson’s letter:
Almost a year on from his first request, and with no sign that the Police investigation has made any progress in the 18 months since the dead birds were discovered (see here), Dave Thompson has now written to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland to urge him to issue an interim report on the first stages of the Police investigation of this case. His second request for a review was no doubt influenced by the recent release of an excellent short documentary video (see here) about the mass poisoning.
Dave Thompson MSP said: “I appreciate the need to await the full review into the investigation, especially as the case is live, and as such, we must be sensitive to the investigative process.
However, I feel enough time has elapsed that the general public are owed an explanation of where the case is at, which is why I have requested an interim review to be issued by Police Scotland, so we can see how the process has been handled in the early stages.
I have written to the Chief Constable and copied in the Chief Superintendent, Julian Innes, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, on the matter.
I look forward to hearing back from the Chief Constable as soon as is practically possible on what is an issue that still remains a concern to many of my constituents and beyond“.
Here is the transcript of his latest letter:
Dear Chief Constable,
Given the length of time that has passed and the failure to date to bring a culprit to justice, I am writing to ask if Police Scotland could issue an interim report on the first stages of the investigation, perhaps the first six months, into the raptor deaths around Conon Bridge.
As you know there is considerable public anger at the incident and I believe this would go some way to helping people understand how seriously the Police are taking the investigation and the constraints you may have been under in the early stages.
Dave Thompson SNP MSP