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COPFS

Animal Welfare Act 2006 (R0116941)

Freedom of Information: Animal Welfare Act 2006 (R0116941)

Thank you for your e-mail of 8 November 2015 in which you requested the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA):

“I would like to request the following information relating to the Animal Welfare Act 2006

1. Most recently statistics of Animal crime recorded
2. Of those recorded how many were prosecuted
3. Of those recorded how many were male and female
4. of those recorded what is the age range of people committed the crime
5. of those recorded postcode areas/ or city
6.  Of those recorded and found guilty what is the punishment. eg jail sentence etc”


Firstly, I must clarify that The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The corresponding Act for Scotland is the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006. Where I have been able to provide data this relates to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.

I must also explain that COPFS use a live operational case management system, specifically designed to receive criminal and death reports from the police and other specialist reporting agencies and to manage the cases for investigation and prosecution purposes.  The information held on the system is structured for these operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes and is constantly updating and changing.  Due to the way the data is structured on our system, where we are asked to provide statistical information,  we  provide  this  by  number  of  charges  rather than  number of reports and for this reason you should note that:

•        the data should not be taken as reflecting the numbers of incidents, accused and/or cases; 
•        a single incident may give rise to several charges being reported and or prosecuted and may involve several accused;
•        the charges may, in effect, be duplicates or alternatives to take account of possible evidential issues in the case;
•        it is open for the prosecutor to combine multiple incidents and or charges into one charge at the point of raising proceedings or at the point of conviction without affecting the potential sentence.

Where you have used the term “recorded” we have interpreted this as “reported.”  As explained above the information held on our system is structured for operational needs, rather than for statistical reporting or research purposes and is constantly updating and changing.  Whilst our system is not designed to record of statistical data, incidents are reported to us by Police Scotland and other specialist agencies for our consideration and the data I have been able to provide is based on charges reported to COPFS under this legislation.

Additionally, I note that you have referred to recent statistics so I have provided data relating to the most recent full financial year of 2014/15.

In relation to your request I will answer each point in turn:

1.  Most recently statistics of Animal crime recorded:  There were 347 charges reported to COPFS by Police Scotland and other reporting agencies relating to this legislation.

2.  Of those recorded how many were prosecuted: There were 231 charges prosecuted.

3.  Of those recorded how many were male and female: The charges reported involved 225 males and 119 females.

4.  of those recorded what is the age range of people committed the crime: The ages of those reported ranged from 15 years to 81 years

5.  of those recorded  postcode areas/ or city:  I have interpreted this aspect of your request as the areas where the incidents occurred and can advise that the 347 charges occurred in the following areas: Aberdeen, Airdrie, Arbroath, Ayr, Banff, Campbeltown, Dingwall, Dumbarton, Dumfries, Dundee, Dunfermline, Dunoon, Duns, Edinburgh, Elgin, Falkirk, Forfar, Fort William, Glasgow, Greenock, Haddington, Hamilton, Inverness, Jedburgh, Kilmarnock, Kirkcaldy, Kirkwall, Lanark, Livingston, Oban, Paisley, Perth, Peterhead, Selkirk, Stirling, Stonehaven, Stornoway, Stranraer, Tain, Wick.

6.  Of those recorded and found guilty what is the punishment. eg jail sentence etc:  Verdicts are returned by the Court and therefore 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.   This database 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 find it additionally helpful to follow the link to the most recent Wildlife Annual Report which is published on the Scottish Government web-site.