Following the publication of the wildlife crime penalties review in 2015, the Scottish Government launched a consultation to gather views and opinions on the prospect of increasing wildlife crime penalties in Scotland.
The proposed changes are rigorous and far-reaching. They include increasing the maximum penalties for the most prolific wildlife crimes to a five-year custodial sentence and an unlimited fine. BASC has responded to this consultation with the positions outlined below:
- BASC accepts that the current penalties no longer act as an effective deterrent against wildlife crime.
- BASC supports uplifting the maximum custodial sentence for the most serious wildlife crimes (such as the unlicensed killing or injuring of animals) to five years and increasing the maximum fine to an unlimited sum, noting that this aligns with the penalties imposed for other environmental offences.
- BASC supports uplifting the maximum custodial sentence for other, less-severe wildlife crimes (such as disturbance of animal nests and shelters) to twelve months and increasing the maximum fine to £40,000.
- BASC supports increasing the statutory time limit for prosecuting wildlife crime offences under summary procedure to six months, but no more than three years from the date of the offence.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “BASC welcomes the proposed changes to tackle wildlife crime in Scotland. BASC strongly condemn all forms of wildlife crime, and we hope that these increased penalties will send a clear message to those intent on committing such serious crimes. Wildlife crime will not be tolerated, and these additional measures reflect the seriousness of such offences.”