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Increase police presence in rural areas to fight wildlife crime, Law Society says

28 August 2014 | tagged News release

More police officers are needed in order to fight wildlife crime, the Law Society of Scotland said today, 28 August.  

The Society was responding to the Scottish Government consultation on extra powers for officers for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) which closes on 1 September.  

Jim Drysdale, member of the Law Society’s Rural Affairs committee said: “Wildlife crime, such as the poisoning of birds of prey, is a serious issue and causes substantial public concern, and it is imperative that such incidents are fully investigated and prosecuted when they occur.  We believe police officers are best placed to deal with such crime, and increasing the presence of uniformed police officers in remote areas where these crimes occur will assure the public that combatting wildlife crime is being taken seriously.  

“However, in the absence of increased police resources we support the proposal 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.  SSPCA officers would require specialist training and should be accompanied by a witness when exercising their powers under the new legislation.  We also believe there should be a review in two to five years’ time to ensure powers are being appropriately enforced.”

ENDS 

Notes to editors 

The Society’s full response can be found on our website

 The full consultation paper ‘Consultation on Wildlife Crime Investigative Powers for Inspectors in the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ can be found on the Scottish Government’s website.  

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Louise Docherty on 0131 476 8204 or Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884

 Email:  louisedocherty@lawscot.org.uk / valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk

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