Snaring: review - February 2022

Report on snaring legislation, as per the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE).

4. Review Snare Training And Assess The Administrative Procedure

4.1 Snare Training[5]

The Snares (Training) (Scotland) Order 2012 came into force on 4 June 2012 and introduces the need for competence in key areas in order to be issued with a training certificate as determined by an approved body. The Order specifies the following as approved training bodies: British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Scottish Association for Country Sports and Scottish Gamekeepers Association.

The Snares (Training) (Scotland) (No. 2) Order 2012 came into force on 21 June 2012 and revokes the previous Order. The following are added to the list of approved bodies: Borders College, Elmwood College, The North Highland College, The Scottish Agricultural College. There are no other substantive changes over the previous Order.

The Snares (Training) (Scotland) Order 2015 came into force on 1 January 2016 and revokes the previous Order. The list of approved bodies is amended to the following: Borders College, British Association for Shooting and Conservation Limited, Countryside Alliance, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trading Limited, The Board of Management of The North Highland College, Scottish Association for Country Sports, Scottish Gamekeepers Association Charitable Trust and Scotland's Rural College.

There are no other substantive changes over the previous Order.

To date a total of 3207 have been trained. 629 snaring operators have successfully undertaken snaring training since the 2016 Snaring Review.

Key to all three Orders is article 3[6], which makes provisions regarding the training requirements that must be met prior to a person being deemed as being 'trained' by an approved body.

The determination of trainee competence under article 3(3) and ability to set a snare in accordance with the law under 3(3)(b) is subjective and reliant on both the delivery methods of the approved training bodies and the quality assurance processes that they employ.

Assessment Process: The measures employed to assess competency of trainees vary slightly between approved training bodies, with differences in the pass mark required in the exam. The use of continuous assessment throughout the delivery of the course and identification and addressing areas of weakness is to be encouraged and seems appropriate.

A standardisation of the assessments methods and level of attainment required for a 'pass' and therefore competence should be encouraged either through agreement between the approved bodies in association with SASA or via incorporation as an annex in the Code of Practice.

Failure Rates: 629 snaring operators have undertaken the required training course and none have failed. In comparison, in the first snaring review which covered 2011-2016, a total of 3 failures from 2578 passes (certified to operate snares)

Quality Assurance: All respondents stated (to a greater or lesser degree) that the knowledge, experience and ongoing awareness of staff delivering training provided quality assurance in meeting the requirements of Article 3. One respondent also stated that training was delivered to meet with the Code of Practice. While it is likely that all approved training bodies do in fact adhere to the standards within the Code of Practice, the Review Group would like to see this formally incorporated into the delivery of all snare training, through agreement among the approved training bodies.

4.2 Administrative procedure for obtaining snaring ID

Articles 3 to 6 of The Snares (Identification Numbers and Tags) (Scotland) Order 2012 outline the administrative procedure for obtaining a snare identification number from Police Scotland and the requirement for Police Scotland to maintain records of identification numbers issued and the person to whom they relate.

The effectiveness ofthe administrative procedure for obtaining snaring identification has been assessed by the Review Group by questioning the approved training bodies on operators' perspectives and Police Scotland on their ability to provide a service.

Feedback from the approved training bodies indicates that the administration procedure for obtaining a snaring ID number from Police Scotland is satisfactory. Once the paperwork (application including photo ID and fee) has been received by the Firearms Licensing department at Police Scotland, a letter is sent out to the applicant usually within one day.

The approved training bodies and Police Scotland both confirmed that the administrative procedure for snaring operators obtaining their ID number was satisfactory.

4.3 Compliance with the administrative procedure for obtaining snaring identification

Compliance with the administrative procedure for obtaining snaring identification was assessed by reviewing prosecuted cases involving non-compliance under Section 11A and the evaluation of the uptake of training against the number of operators who applied for an identification number. It must be noted however that this latter is merely a reflection of the number of people who have not chosen to register with Police Scotland for an identification number and criminality cannot be inferred by any discrepancy between the numbers.

A total of 3207 people have successfully completed snare training (an increase of 629 from the 2016 Review) and 1877 of these have registered with Police Scotland and received a snaring identification number. The approved training bodies have proposed a number of explanations for this difference:

  • Not all students are successful in gaining employment as gamekeepers;
  • Some gamekeepers may lose employment and not need to operate snares;
  • Many gamekeepers are switching to shooting with thermal imaging / light intensifiers equipment for pest control;
  • The burden placed upon operators by the legislation is too onerous and some choose not to continue snaring;
  • Concerns of being falsely accused of an offence in cases where snares have been tampered with;
  • Some trainees (land owners and land managers) undertake training solely to gain a better understanding of snaring;
  • Some trainees attend training but do not have an immediate need to operate snares.

All of these explanations seem valid, although concerns regarding being falsely accused in the event of snares being tampered with could be potentially mitigated through accurate and timely record keeping. None of these explanations points to a failure to comply with the administrative procedure, and it is therefore the view of the Review Group that it is currently meeting the requirements of the legislation.



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