PAW TAYSIDE A STRATEGY FOR COMBATING WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME IN TAYSIDE
Introduction This Strategy has been developed to support the work of Tayside Police in combating and dealing with Wildlife and Environmental Crime within the Force area, encompassing the local authority areas of the City of Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross. The delivery of the Strategy follows the recommendations of the Thematic Review of Wildlife Crime Prevention, Investigation and Enforcement in Scotland (Natural Justice) and is dependent on the support of organisations that have a common interest in combating and reducing Wildlife and Environmental Crime in the Tayside Police area. A small steering group representative of these organisations and chaired by the Senior Officer in Tayside Police with responsibility for Wildlife and Environmental Crime work will oversee the delivery of the Strategy. The format of the Strategy broadly follows that contained within Recommendation 18 of the aforementioned Thematic Review It also contributes to the objectives and plans of the UK Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW), PAW (Scotland), the Scottish Wildlife Crime reduction Strategy 2008 (due for review in 2011) and the Scottish Control Strategy. Aim To work with partner organisations to reduce Wildlife and Environmental Crime in the Tayside Police area.
Objectives To identify areas where Wildlife or Environmental Crime can be prevented by education, awareness-raising and peer pressure, and where it can be more effectively enforced by expertise provided or facilitated by partner agencies. To work out how partner agencies can best work in tandem with the Police in showing a united front against a range of wildlife criminality and identify areas where expertise can be called upon to make the likelihood of prosecutions more successful. Having identified the relevant skills and expertise of partners, utilise those skills in educational projects and awareness-raising, including good use of the media and, where required, the securing of funding. Definitions The definition of wildlife crime is: any unlawful act or omission, which affects any wild creature, plant or habitat, in Scotland including acts as described in: Agriculture (Scotland) Act 1948 Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994
Conservation of Seals Act 1970 (soon to be Marine (Scotland) Act 2010) COTES Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 Game (Scotland) Act 1832 (and others) Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005 Protection of Badgers Act 1992 Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002 Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation)(Scotland) Act 2003 (and others) Spring Traps Approvals Orders Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 While there are no agreed definitions for Environmental Crime, this may be accepted to include, so far as this group is concerned, damage to or destruction of protected sites (SSSIs, SPAs, SACs, etc), water pollution and fly-tipping. The reasons behind the decision to do so are: (1) there are strong links between environmental crime and wildlife crime; (2) the acceptance that in Tayside this is a strategy for combating wildlife and environmental crime; (3) the principle remit of one of the partners (Sepa) covers water pollution, fly-tipping and sometimes damage to protected sites; (4) the inclusion of water pollution and fly-tipping will increase public support for the group. Rural crime has much wider parameters. It can include such criminality as thefts of plant and livestock from farms, rural housebreakings, illegal off-road driving, and vandalism, youth disorder and drug dealing in villages. These are not the direct remit of this partnership. It is proposed that in due course each objective identified will be assigned an owner who will be accountable for its delivery. UK wildlife crime priorities Priorities for the policing of Wildlife Crime have been identified and for the past seven or so years by the High Level Group of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime. Priorities are identified from two sources: those relating to particularly endangered species at risk from crime, and those that are the subject of volume crime. The first group are identified by the Wildlife Law Enforcement Working Group, chaired by the Joint Nature Conservancy Council, while the second group are identified by the National Wildlife Crime Unit, having taken account of incidents and intelligence submitted by police forces. The priorities are re-assessed on a biennial basis. Current wildlife crime policing priorities are: • Badger persecution • Bat persecution • CITES issues • Freshwater pearl mussels • Poaching (of deer and fish) and hare coursing • Raptor persecution
The Tayside situation Distilling the UK priorities to a local basis, the main wildlife crime concerns in Tayside are: Bird of prey persecution Hare coursing Deer poaching Crime against freshwater pearl mussels Training and awareness-raising needs currently relate to: Bats (in relation to responsibilities regarding bat roosts) Snaring (in relation to existing and pending legislation) Freshwater pearl mussels (in relation to both pearl fishing and river engineering)
Where partner agencies may be able to offer help Taking the legislation within the definition of Wildlife Crime a stage further, and adding in offences relating to the environment, these cover; Offences relating to nesting birds, including taking wild birdsâ€™ eggs Finch trapping
Offences relating to falconry Illegal shooting/trapping/snaring/poisoning Cruelty/animal welfare in relation to wild animals Offences against marine wildlife Offences relating to freshwater species Illegal trade in endangered species Offences against badgers Offences against bats Poaching and hare coursing Damage to protected habitats Damage to, or pollution of, the water environment
The Groups represented on Tayside PAW are: Tayside Police RSPB Scotland Cairngorms National Park Authority Scottish Gamekeepersâ€™ Association Scottish Natural Heritage Scottish Rural Property and Business Association Forestry Commission Scotland Scottish Government Rural Payment Inspections Directorate Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service Scottish Environment Protection Agency Angus Council, Countryside Service British Association for Shooting and Conservation
Associated organisations are hoped to include: Angus Local Access Forum Angus Education Department British Deer Society Dundee Countryside Rangers Dundee Local Access Forum Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Keep Scotland Beautiful National Farmersâ€™ Union Scotland North & South Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board Perth & Kinross Countryside Rangers Perth & Kinross Local Access Forum Scottish Estates Business Group Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Tayside Badger Group Tayside District Salmon Fisheries Board Tayside Raptor Study Group
TAYSIDE POLICE Tayside Police is committed to work with all agencies and organisations across the wide range of wildlife, animal welfare, environment and countryside interests. We aim to develop effective partnerships, promote preventive strategies and encourage educational initiatives that improve the understanding of wildlife issues. Tayside Police was the first force in Scotland to employ a full-time wildlife crime officer and to appreciate that environmental crime is inextricably linked with wildlife crime. We very much subscribe to the view that we cannot effectively reduce or enforce wildlife crime issues on our own and rely on expertise, specialised training and peer pressure available from the partner organisations in the Tayside PAW Group. I welcome the introduction of this Strategy in the Tayside Police area and I wish the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Officers and their partners every success. Justine Curran, Chief Constable.
ENDORSEMENT BY PARTNER While the profile of the fight against wildlife crime is nationally high, the delivery has to be at a local level and undertaken by the Police working with others. The formation of the Tayside Paw will, we hope, allow many of our members to help detect and prevent poaching, and other serious criminal acts in the countryside. Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland Photographs of Coire Fee, Hare, Deer and Bird copyright Lorne Gill/SNH Photograph of Mussel copyright Sue Scott/SNH