REPRESENTATIVES of the Partnership Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Tayside group met last week to launch their strategy for 2011/12.
The strategy has been developed to support the work of Tayside Police in combating and dealing with wildlife and environmental crime within the force area, encompassing the local authority areas of Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross.
It will follow the recommendations of the ‘Thematic Review of Wildlife Crime Prevention, Investigation and Enforcement in Scotland’ and is dependent on the support of organisations that have a common interest in combating and reducing wildlife and environmental crime in the Tayside Police area.
A small steering group representative of these organisations, and chaired by Chief Superintendent Ewen West, the Senior Officer in Tayside Police with responsibility for Wildlife and Environmental Crime work, will oversee the delivery of the Strategy.
Chief Superintendent West said: “Tayside Police is committed to work with all agencies and organisations across the wide range of wildlife, animal welfare, environment and countryside interests.
“We aim to develop effective partnerships, promote preventive strategies and encourage educational initiatives that improve the understanding of wildlife issues.
“Tayside Police was the first force in Scotland to employ a full-time wildlife crime officer and to appreciate that environmental crime is inextricably linked with wildlife crime.
“We very much subscribe to the view that we cannot effectively reduce or enforce wildlife crime issues on our own and rely on expertise, specialised training and peer pressure available from the partner organisations in the Tayside PAW Group.
“I welcome the introduction of this strategy in the Tayside Police area and I wish the wildlife and environmental crime officers and our partners every success.”
Dr Colin Shedden, from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, added: “While the profile of the fight against wildlife crime is nationally high, the delivery has to be at a local level and undertaken by the Police working with others.
“The formation of the Tayside PAW strategy will, we hope, allow many of our members to help detect and prevent poaching, and other serious criminal acts in the countryside.”
The main wildlife crime concerns in Tayside are bird of prey persecution, hare coursing, deer poaching and crime against freshwater pearl mussels.
Work is also ongoing to raise awareness in relation to responsibilities regarding bat roosts, snaring, and freshwater pearl mussels and river engineering.