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COPFS

Wildlife Crime Debriefs (R015967)

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


"1. How many criminal cases concerning environmental wildlife crime have been concluded since 2008?

2. How many debriefs following the conclusion of those cases in Q1 have been held between COPFS and Police Scotland?"

Firstly, I should explain that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s case management database is a live, operating database. 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.

Tackling wildlife and environmental crime is a high priority for COPFS. A unit of dedicated specialist prosecutors – the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit (WECU) - has been in operation since 15 August 2011. WECU handles all reports of wildlife and environmental crime and initially considers all cases of animal cruelty and neglect.

Your request relates to "environmental wildlife crime". It is unclear from this description whether your request is in relation to wildlife crime or if you also seek information about environmental crime. For the purposes of this response we have interpreted that the data you seek relates to wildlife crime.

I can advise that wildlife crime data is already accessible in Wildlife Annual Reports published by the Scottish Government. I attach a link to the reports which are presently accessible which include the periods 2012 to 2015. The reports contain details of the number of cases reported to COPFS and associated case outcomes http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Environment/Wildlife-Habitats/paw-scotland/Resources/Reports/annual-report

Unfortunately there are no annual reports published for the earlier periods of your request from 2008 to 2011. 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. It would be a significant exercise for COPFS to replicate the level of data in the reports for the periods 2008 to 2011.