Wildlife crime fight stepped up

editorial image

Police officers in the Lothians and Borders have received training on the investigation and prevention of wildlife crime.

Wildlife crime continues to be an issue across the division and has been identified as a national priority by Police Scotland.

The force says that those who take part in wildlife crime, particularly poaching, are often involved in other types of criminality.

Three quarters of wildlife crimes reported to Police Scotland in the Lothians and Borders are poaching offences.

More resources have recently been allocated to the force to tackle wildlife crimes, which will help better equipped officers to disrupt these illegal activities.

As a result the force has taken steps to train officers to combat these types of incidents.

Ten officers from across the Lothians and Borders undertook the training, which took place at Hawick Police Station.

The training day took place this week and was administered by several partner agencies, with trainers from Borders College, River Tweed Commission and British Association of Shooting and Conservation attending.

There was also input from police officers from across Scotland who have experience in wildlife investigation.

PC Jamie Hood, recently appointed Wildlife Liaison Officer for the Lothians and Scottish Borders, said: “Wildlife and environmental crime is a key priority for Police Scotland. We work with several organisations in order to tackle these types of incidents and their support in training police officers is vital.

“This training has been well received by officers taking part. The speakers from our partner agencies have a wealth of experience, which will be put to good use in our rural areas. Wildlife crime continues to blight our countryside and by working with our partners and local communities we will make an impact on this crime.”

Late last year PC Hood PC Hood said the focus of police activity was switching to combating pursuits which could be linked to a downturn in the economy.

“The running down of hares and even deer often involves betting and the selling on of meat to unscrupulous dealers. By the time we get there, all that is left is a gutted carcass,” he said in November.

Anyone who wishes to report a wildlife crime is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.