Snaring: review - February 2022
Report on snaring legislation, as per the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE).
Annex 1 Methodology Adopted in the Review
1. Assessing efficacy of the legislation
Section 11 - Those provisions regarding snaring, including the setting of snares;
Section 11A - Training. Identification numbers, tags etc;
Section 11B - Duty to Inspect;
Section 11C - Authorisation from Landowners;
Section 11D - Presumption arising from the Identification number;
Section 11E - Record Keeping.
Relevant Order: The Snares (Identification Numbers and Tags) (Scotland) Order 2012
The most objective means of assessing the efficacy of and compliance with the legislation under section 11 and 11B-11E is through comparison of the incidents of snaring offences for the period after enactment of Section 11, with those for a similar period prior to enactment.
Recorded crimes relate only to those which have been detected and met with Scottish Crime Recording Standards to constitute a crime. The identification of a suspect and sufficiency of evidence with which to bring charges cannot be assumed for each recorded crime.
It is impossible to quantify the affect that any change in detection rates may have had on recorded crime figures. The publicity surrounding the snaring provisions under the WANE Act, increased awareness among snare operators through training requirements and changes to the structure of Scottish Policing through the formation of Police Scotland will all have impacted upon the level of crime detected.
Standard Prosecution Reports:
COPFS were asked to provide details of the number of Standard Prosecution Reports (SPRs) received from Police Scotland/legacy Scottish police Forces in relation to snaring offences.
SPRs can be used as an indicator of those recorded crimes where a suspect has been identified and the police or Scottish SPCA consider that it is appropriate to report the case to COPFS for consideration.
This, together with the number of recorded crimes will provide an objective assessment of the efficacy of the legislation in terms of compliance from snare operators but also the ability of the police to enforce the legislation when an offence has been committed.
Cases Marked for Prosecution:
COPFS were asked to provide details of the number of cases marked for prosecution.
In marking cases COPFS review the available evidence and if the admissible evidence is sufficient to prove, prima facie, that an offence has been committed by an identified person, will go on to consider whether it is within the public interest for action to be taken, whether by prosecution or by the use of an alternative to prosecution (PF direct measure).
COPFS were asked to provide details of the number of convictions for snaring offences.
COPFS also provided a note of the sentences imposed by the Courts in individual charges and also the number of direct measures issued.
A comparison of the number of recorded crimes with the number of convictions for the period after enactment of Section 11 with those for a similar period prior to enactment will give a relative indication of the enforceability of the legislation.
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