A new smartphone app was launched this week that will enable people to record and report suspected cases of wildlife crime directly to Police Scotland via their iPhone.
The app is the brainchild of former Wildlife Crime Education Officer, Andy Turner who was looking for a way to improve awareness, detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland.
The app allows users to access basic guidelines on do's and don'ts at a crime scene, and complete an on-screen form to record the suspected wildlife crime. Users can also attach two photographs which are automatically tagged with a GPS reference of the location. The information is then sent to Police Scotland by email.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change, and Chair of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, Mr Paul Wheelhouse said:
“This reporting app will be an extremely useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime, and I would like to thank all those involved in its development.
“Wildlife crime incidents can often go unreported. I hope that the app will be used to provide valuable information to wildlife crime officers, and help us continue to build a more accurate picture of the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland.”
Andy Turner said:
“Scotland has a population of 5.3 million people. With more and more of these people now accessing the countryside an excellent opportunity exists to raise awareness of both wildlife crime and legal countryside practices and improve reporting of crime by employing readily available mobile phone technology.”
Police Scotland Wildlife Crime Coordinator, Sergeant Andy Mavin said:
“The Wildlife Crime App is an excellent idea that I am sure will improve both the accuracy and efficiency of reporting and improve the overall detection of wildlife crime. The ability to tag a GPS location to a report will assist Officers in locating the incident – which by their nature are often very remote locations – while adding to evidential value.”
Paul Wakefield of Scottish Land & Estates and Chairman of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland’s Poaching and Coursing Priority Group said: ‘Poaching and coursing is a major wildlife crime issue across Scotland, accounting for the majority of incidents, as reported in the Scottish Government’s Wildlife Crime Report 2012. This new app is a very welcome tool in combatting these abhorrent crimes against animals as well as helping to deal with illegal damage to and interference with legal traps. Members of the public should now be a lot clearer on what constitutes a suspected crime and how and when to report it.’