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Wildlife Crime (R010213)

Freedom of Information: Wildlife Crime (R010213)

Thank you for your e-mail of 20 April 2015 which we are treating as a request for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

“I'm looking for the number of wildlife crime cases that have been reported to the procurator fiscal after 2013 and who they were reported by (how many by police Scotland, how many by SSPCA). I would also like to know how many of these resulted in a conviction.

Could I add in if they could check as well, sorry, specifically how many land owners/ game keepers have been convicted by reports provided by police Scotland?”

It may assist if I firstly explain that COPFS uses a live operational case management system.  It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of cases and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate statistical database and hold only operational data needed for business purposes. 

In relation to your request, cases involving wildlife crime submitted to COPFS are categorised within our case management system as “wildlife” or “poaching”.  The table below represents the numbers of cases reported to COPFS under the categories “wildlife” and “poaching” since 2013 and provides information regarding the reporting agency.

Cases reported to copfs









As additional information there is a further category on the COPFS case management system “animal welfare or wildlife”.  Cases reported under this category involve animal welfare which may involve wildlife crime but this is dependent on the type of animal and circumstances involved in the crime. This level of detail is not recorded within our database in a way which can be electronically searched and would instead require a manual search of the electronic or hard copy case reports pertaining to this category of case to identify cases which relate to wildlife crime. This applies also to your additional request regarding landowners/gamekeepers.

Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under section 12. Given the total number of cases under this category over the period is 421, it would not be possible to carry out such a search within the cost limits under FOISA.  I hope you appreciate that this exercise would in terms of staff time exceed the upper cost limit referred to above and as a result we are unable to provide accurate information in relation to this category.  For your information however I attach a table which represents the case reported under the category “animal welfare or wildlife” but for the reasons previously explained, you should be aware that not all of the cases in this table will relate to wildlife crime.

You have asked how many of the cases reported resulted in a conviction and how many of the convictions were recorded against land-owners/gamekeepers.  As verdicts are returned by the Court, information in relation to verdicts can  be  extracted more  easily  from  the  Scottish  Government  Justice  Department’s  Court Proceedings Database which is designed to produce statistical information.   It contains information about cases prosecuted in all courts and you can contact them by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone on 0131 244 2927. 

You may also be interested to know that the Scottish Government website contains information on wildlife crime which you may find useful for your dissertation.