Police wildlife crime officers in Fife have been trained to identify the difference between legal and illegal forms of trapping and snaring.
They were also briefed on the relevant legislation at a training event run by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). BASC and Fife Constabulary are both members of the Fife Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW).
Trapping and snaring are essential methods of pest and predator control used to help farmers, gamekeepers and other land managers protect crops, feed and livestock. They are also used in conservation work to protect the red squirrel from non-native grey squirrels and protect breeding birds from mink predation. However, the illegal use of traps and snares, for example by poachers, constitutes wildlife crime.
BASC Scotland’s Kenny Willmitt said: “It is vital that police officers can distinguish between legal and illegal forms of trapping and snaring. Many of our members, such as gamekeepers and pest controllers, legitimately use these tools on a daily basis. Those acting outside the law bring these management tools into disrepute and they are the ones that we want to target.”
Fife Constabulary’s wildlife and environmental crime co-ordinator Iain Laing said: “It is essential that those officers within Fife Constabulary who are at the forefront in tackling wildlife crime have the appropriate level of training provided by experts in their fields. We have called on the assistance of various groups with whom we work in partnership, such as BASC, to deliver this training. That ensures that whether the issue is fish poaching, deer or hare coursing or the illegal use of traps and snares we have the skills or the organisations on which we can call to ensure the best outcomes for enquiries.”
Pictured are Fife Constabulary’s wildlife crime officers flanked by BASC Scotland’s Kenny Willmitt on the left and Iain Laing from Fife Constabulary on the right.