Publication of Wildlife Crime in Scotland 2022

An Accredited Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The Chief Statistician for Scotland has released figures for Wildlife Crime in Scotland 2022. The statistics show that recorded wildlife crime was down by 7% from 308 offences in 2020-21 to 286 offences in 2021-22.

The report shows that there were noticeable decreases in recorded crime for fish poaching (from 110 to 49 offences) and hunting with dogs (from 44 to 13 offences).

Increases were seen for birds (from 29 to 74 offences) and “other wildlife offences” (from 43 to 73 offences).

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service received 77 cases relating to wildlife crime, with fish poaching being the most common category (23 cases). Criminal proceedings statistics in 2021-22 show that 18 people were proceeded against for wildlife crimes – a return to a more typical level after the very low numbers seen in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The full statistical publication is available including data tables as supporting documents.

In addition to recorded crime, the statistics include data on Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service cases, criminal proceedings and scientific evidence and intelligence.

When a wildlife crime is suspected, the first step is for it to be reported to the police (or detected by the police), and then recorded. Further steps may include investigation to assess whether the recorded crime should be part of a case submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and then a decision on whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to be prosecuted. Ultimately a court case may result in a conviction or acquittal. All these stages may be supported by relevant scientific evidence and intelligence.

This report presents statistics relating to 2021-22 for the various stages described above. Although these sets of statistics are related, direct comparisons between them cannot be made due to differences in data sources, timing and the bases on which statistics were collated. For example, several recorded crimes may be included in one COPFS case (involving multiple sources of scientific evidence), and subsequent criminal proceedings may occur in a different year.

Official statistics are produced in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.


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