Landowners call for tougher punishments for wildlife crime
Landowners have called on MSPs to introduce harsher punishments for those convicted of wildlife crime, with Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) warning “we need to send out a clear message that wildlife crime of any kind is absolutely unacceptable, and these reckless acts will not be tolerated”.
Responding to an evidence session held by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, the landowners membership organisation said people convicted of wildlife crimes such as deer poaching, hare coursing, or killing badgers or birds of prey should receive bigger fines and longer prison sentences.
SLE also called on police to use surveillance cameras as part of investigations into suspected cases.
In cases which have less of an impact on a species and the environment, SLE recommended the use of sanctions such as community payback orders.
Karen Ramoo, policy adviser at Scottish Land and Estates, said: “We need to send out a clear message that wildlife crime of any kind is absolutely unacceptable, and these reckless acts will not be tolerated. That is why we are calling for longer prison sentences and bigger maximum fines for the most serious wildlife crimes, to act as a deterrent.
“By providing clear guidelines to the courts on sentencing and by enabling courts to issue bigger penalties than currently available, we are confident that wildlife crime in Scotland will continue to decrease as it has over the past five years.
“We also believe that enabling police to use and manage surveillance cameras under strict RIPSA [Regulation of Investigatory Powers Scotland Act] procedures where evidence suggests there could be acts of wildlife crime, could act as a real deterrent and could lead to more prosecutions. Scotland’s wildlife continues to rely on the public, our members and the police to act as eyes and ears to ensure that these heinous crimes are stamped out. “