September 2014

Consultation on wildlife Investigative Powers for SSPCA Inspectors

The Rural Affairs committee responded to the Scottish Government consultation on increasing powers for Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officers.  The Government is proposing to increase the powers of SSPCA officers to allow them adequately investigate wildlife crime rather than Police Scotland.  The Committee is of the view that the powers that are being proposed are more suitable for police officers and it would prefer for the Scottish Government to increase the resources and personnel of Police Scotland in order that they can investigate wildlife crime.  However, in the absence of increased police resources, and given the public interest in combatting wildlife crime, the Committee is satisfied that it is appropriate for SSPCA officers to be granted the proposed powers which include the ability to search vehicles suspected of carrying illegal carcasses, protected live animals and birds, and illegal traps or poisons.  The committee considers it essential appropriate training is provided and that SSPCA officers should be accompanied by a witness when exercising their powers under the new legislation.  It also believes the powers should be reviewed after a period of 2-5 years to ensure powers are not being abused. 

Full response can be found on our website