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Publication - Report

Review of snaring for Scottish Government, prepared by Scottish Natural Heritage

Published: 14 Mar 2017
Part of:
Environment and climate change, Farming and rural
ISBN:
9781786528353

Report from Scottish Natural Heritage on snaring legislation, as per the Wildlife & Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE).

55 page PDF

450.6kB

55 page PDF

450.6kB

Contents
Review of snaring for Scottish Government, prepared by Scottish Natural Heritage
Annex 1 - Methodology Adopted in the Review

55 page PDF

450.6kB

Annex 1 - Methodology Adopted in the Review

1. Assessing efficacy of the legislation

Relevant Sections:

Section 11 - Those provisions regarding snaring, including the setting of snares;
Section 11A - Training. Identification numbers, tags etc;
Section 11B - Duty to Inspect;
Section 11C - Authorisation from Landowners;
Section 11D - Presumption arising from the Identification number;
Section 11E - Record Keeping.

Relevant Order:The Snares (Identification Numbers and Tags) (Scotland) Order 2012

The most objective means of assessing the efficacy of and compliance with the legislation under section 11 and 11B-11E is through comparison of the incidences of snaring offences for the period after enactment of Section 11, with those for a similar period prior to enactment.

Recorded Crime:

Police Scotland was asked to provide details of the number of recorded crimes in relation to snaring offences. However the merger of the eight legacy Scottish Police Forces into Police Scotland in April 2013 has created difficulties in gathering and subsequent analysis of data, therefore this data has not been used in the review.

Recorded crimes relate only to those which have been detected and met with Scottish Crime Recording Standards to constitute a crime. The identification of a suspect and sufficiency of evidence with which to bring charges cannot be assumed for each recorded crime.

It is impossible to quantify the affect that any change in detection rates may have had on recorded crime figures. The publicity surrounding the snaring provisions under the WANE Act, increased awareness among snare operators through training requirements and changes to the structure of Scottish Policing through the formation of Police Scotland will all have impacted upon the level of crime detected.

Other Sources of Data

SSPCA were asked to provide details of the number of recorded crimes in relation to snaring offences. SSPCA are an investigatory agency with powers under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 who may report crime under this Act directly to COPFS for prosecution.

While offences under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 do not relate directly to the provisions made under the WANE Act, they may be used as an indicator of associated snaring offences and provide a measure of the impact of the WANE Act on welfare-related offences.

Likewise Scottish Badgers and OneKind were also asked to provide details of the number of recorded incidents in relation to snaring. Neither organisation has a statutory remit for investigation of crime and do not report to COPFS, however incident data may be used to assess the impact of the WANE Act on the number of recorded incidents (including bad practice and those which do not constitute an offence but may have welfare implications).

There is no requirement for OneKind, Scottish Badgers and SSPCA to record crime to Scottish Crime Recording Standards as described in the Police Scotland 'Crime Recording and Scottish Government Counting Rules (2016)', therefore detailed analysis and comparison of the datasets is not possible.

All datasets do show a general decrease in overall incidents (those perceived to be criminal and those perceived to be bad practice) from 2007 (earliest records) through to 2015. The number of incidents recorded by both OneKind and SSPCA peak in 2016, however the former may be due to the targeted fieldwork undertaken, which accounts for 14 of the 17 recorded incidents in 2016.

The general decrease in incidents, and in particular the marked decrease following the Snares (Scotland) Order 2010 is consistent with the incident data provided by COPFS.

Specific mention was given in all datasets as to whether snares were tagged or not tagged.

OneKind recorded 27 incidents between 2013 (enactment of the WANE Act) and November 2016, with 5-8 of these recorded as 'crimes'. Approximately half (3-4) of these 'crimes' involve snares which did not have an identification number attached.

SSPCA recorded 52 incidents between 2013 and November 2016. It is not clear from the information provided which are 'crimes.'

28 of these incidents involve snares which do not have an identification number attached, five involve snares with an identification number and a further 19 are not listed.

Standard Prosecution Reports

COPFS were asked to provide details of the number of Standard Prosecution Reports ( SPRs) received from Police Scotland/legacy Scottish police Forces in relation to snaring offences.

SPRs can be used as an indicator of those recorded crimes where a suspect has been identified and the police or Scottish SPCA consider that it is appropriate to report the case to COPFS for consideration.

This, together with the number of recorded crimes will provide an objective assessment of the efficacy of the legislation in terms of compliance from snare operators but also the ability of the police to enforce the legislation when an offence has been committed.

Cases Marked for Prosecution

COPFS were asked to provide details of the number of cases marked for prosecution.

In marking cases COPFS review the available evidence and if the admissible evidence is sufficient to prove, prima facie, that an offence has been committed by an identified person, will go on to consider whether it is within the public interest for action to be taken, whether by prosecution or by the use of an alternative to prosecution ( PF direct measure).

Convictions

COPFS were asked to provide details of the number of convictions for snaring offences.

COPFS also provided a note of the sentences imposed by the Courts in individual charges and also the number of direct measures issued.

A comparison of the number of recorded crimes with the number of convictions for the period after enactment of Section 11 with those for a similar period prior to enactment will give a relative indication of the enforceability of the legislation.

2. Review snare training and assess the effectiveness and compliance with the administrative procedure for obtaining snaring ID

Relevant Section: Section 11A - Training. Identification numbers, tags etc;

Relevant Orders: The Snares (Training) (Scotland) Order 2012
The Snares (Training) (Scotland) (No. 2) Order 2012
The Snares (Training) (Scotland) Order 2015
The Snares (Identification Numbers and Tags) (Scotland) Order 2012

The WANE Act introduced Section 11A 'Training. Identification numbers, tags etc.' to the WCA.

To comply with the requirements, snare operators must receive accredited training from an Approved Training Body. Approved Training Bodies are: British Association of Shooting and Conservation ( BASC), Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust ( GWCT), North Highland College, Scottish Association of Country Sports ( SACS), Scottish Countryside Alliance, Scottish Gamekeepers Association ( SGA), Scottish Rural College ( SRUC) and The Borders College.

Police Scotland issue snare ID numbers in accordance with The Snares (Identification Numbers and Tags) (Scotland) Order 2012.

Snare operators must make an application for an individual snare identification number to Police Scotland. This number must be fitted in the prescribed way to all snares set by the operator.

Approved Training Bodies and Police Scotland were asked to provide information and their opinion in relation to the administrative procedure and the effectiveness of its operation.

Snare Training

Approved Training Bodies were asked to complete a questionnaire developed by the Review of Snaring Group to evaluate the training delivered and quality assurance of trainees prior to certification.

In addition Approved Training Bodies were asked to provide the number of people who have undertaken snare training, so this may be compared to the number who have applied for an ID number. Any discrepancy in number can be assumed to account for people who have been trained but chose to no longer operate snares.

GWCT maintain records of snare training certificates issued and were asked to provide the overall number and geographic distribution by postcode area.

Application for Snare ID

Approved Training Bodies were asked to complete a questionnaire to identify any common problems encountered by trained operators on application for a snare ID number form Police Scotland.

Police Scotland were asked to complete a questionnaire to identify any procedural problems with the administration of snare ID numbers and the geographic distribution of snare ID numbers which had been issued by postcode area.

3. Consider any evidence of outstanding animal welfare implications in relation to snaring and whether these are sufficiently addressed through the provisions under Section 11

Independent work has been undertaken by SASA to look at the technical elements of snares and their operation, with specific focus on welfare implications for target and non-target animals.

SASA created a Technical Assessment Group (TAG) to help direct this work comprising the Approved Training Bodies to enable a practitioners' perspective with technical knowledge of snare operation and both Police Scotland and SSPCA to provide input in relation to snaring offences under the WCA and Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 respectively.


Contact

Email: John Gray