A strategy to tackle wildlife crime for the next three years has today [Monday 14 March 2016] been launched in the
The Highland branch of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland action plan is a local collaboration
between a number of organisations including Police Scotland, Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB
Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, National Farmers Union Scotland , Association of Salmon Fishery Boards and the
Scottish Gamekeepers Association to name but a few. The focus involves working closely with partners to raise
awareness and prevent crime from occurring.
The Highland Environment Forum has run for many years and this strategy and action plan will seek to harness the
many interests of all parties, to ensure that criminal activity is prevented and where it does occur is actively
prosecuted. It focuses on identifying hotspots and having specific measures in place to deal with different types
of crime including raptor crime, salmon poaching and deer poaching. There is also an emphasis on building
partnerships with landowners.
Chief Inspector Colin Gough said: "The Highlands enjoy vibrant and diverse wildlife. This is a privilege and one we
do not take for granted. Threats to our natural habitat through criminal activity and ignorance are not acceptable.
The Highland PAW Action Plan supports a vision where our natural heritage is protected, individuals are educated
about wildlife crime and there is a high level of awareness of the cost of wildlife crime and the loss of wildlife
to our communities.
"In the Highlands, we are fortunate to have a wide range of groups and individuals who have specific interests in
different aspects of wildlife. Over the next three years we will seek to utilise, facilitate and encourage their
participation in protecting the local wildlife, in deterring criminals who seek to destroy our wild heritage and in
preventing wildlife crime.
"Our strategy and action plan provides us with a focus for the next three years and places a degree of expectation
on each partner to deliver tangible benefits in the commitment to address wildlife crime.
"I am also pleased to advise that PC Dan Sutherland has been appointed as a permanent Wildlife Crime Officer for
Highland and Islands Division following a successful six month pilot. We are committed to tackling wildlife crime
in the area and having a full time resource to focus on it and the HPAW strategy will make significant benefits.
New PAW Chairman Ian Wilson said "We in the farming industry welcome the formation of this group and hope that
through education, enforcement and local buy-in we will see a reduction in wildlife crime through out the region.
Farmers in general are concerned by the nature of those carrying out many crimes such as hare coursing and poaching
that those involved are also linked to other types of rural crime and thefts from farm premises."
PC Dan Sutherland said: "I am delighted that my time as Wildlife Crime Officer has been extended and made
permanent. I am looking forward to help the new HPAW strategy forward."
Ian Francis, Conservation Manager for RSPB Scotland said: "We very much welcome this updated strategy and the
commitment of Police Scotland along with all partners. Unfortunately there are still those who deliberately break
the law and harm our local wildlife and this strategy shows the strength of will to bring this to a halt. RSPB
Scotland will play a full part in ensuring this happens.”
Ewen Cameron, Operations Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage, said: "Wildlife is an important and growing part of
the economy and brings enjoyment to many people who live in and visit the area. But like all crime, wildlife crime
undermines legitimate activities, so we are keen to support Police Scotland in this fight."
Drew McFarlane-Slack Highland Manager for Scottish Land & Estates said "It is important that the detection of all
forms of Rural Crime in the Highlands is underpinned by good intellegence and this new Partnership should help
provide confidence among landmanagers. We wish to establish an effective network across the highlands to bring to
justice those involved in wildlife and other rural crimes."