You asked the Scottish Government to confirm:
1) How many snaring-related offences have been recorded in Scotland in the last ten years?
2) How many prosecutions have there been in Scotland regarding snaring-related offences in the last ten years?
As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
I enclose some of the information you requested;
There were 27 snaring offences recorded between April 2016 and March 2018.
Information on the snaring offences and prosecutions in the years 2006-16 is available from the following review:
This shows that there were 58 incidents involving snaring reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal service between 2009 and 2016
It also shows that there were 27 snaring-related prosecutions between the years 2009 and 2016.
Under regulation 6(1) (b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we do not hold snaring prosecution records from 2017 to 2019. Therefore we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4) (a) of the EIRs. The reasons why this exception applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.
REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION
The Scottish Government does not have the information
Under the terms of the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held), the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.
This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about the snaring prosecutions between 2017 and 2019, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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