With the number of recorded wildlife crimes on the rise, Police Scotland have launched a brand new awareness campaign tackling offences such as endangered species trading, poisoning birds of prey, and the persecution of badgers.
Nearly 250 cases were documented between April 2014 and February 2015 with enhanced detection measures aiding in tackling the issue. The new campaign calls on the public to keep a look out for and report any suspicious activity as soon as possible. They can do this at their nearest local police station or through the PAWS smartphone app.
Assistance Chief Constable, Malcolm Graham, says that the natural environment in Scotland is “under threat from criminals”. These crimes occur in rural and city areas in communities across the country.
Typically, by the time the police apprehend a criminal, the animal has been sold or killed and it is ultimately too late. With this campaign however, Police Scotland is hoping that increased public awareness can stop these incidents from occurring in the first place. With the police and public working together, protecting the country’s natural heritage is an achievable goal.
Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Management, and Chair of PAWS, Dr Aileen McLeod, put her full support behind the new campaign saying it will play a “key role” in boosting awareness and educating the public about what they should do if they spot wildlife crime occurring in their area. She noted that flora and fauna were crucial components of Scottish heritage and all measures should be implemented to protect them.
The campaign will be held throughout 2015 on Police Scotland and PAWS websites as well as posters, newspaper ads and relevant social media platforms. Members of PAWS will also help spread the word and raise awareness about wildlife crime in cities, towns and rural locations across Scotland.