Chapter 9 - Compliance
77. The WFR report recommended retention of the existing bailiffing system for enforcement of wild fisheries legislation but with warrants issued by the national unit to ensure democratic control and subject to appropriate training, qualifications, CPD and complaints procedures being put in place. The report suggested that employment of bailiffs remain at a local level but that, once warranted, they be able to work anywhere in Scotland.
78. Effective and consistent enforcement of fisheries legislation will be a key component of the management system. There is potential, particularly in the context of proposals for licensed killing of salmon, for greater enforcement activity to ensure that the new regulatory framework is adhered to. The role of bailiffs has changed somewhat in recent years with many working closely with Police Scotland through wildlife crime officers. In some areas bailiffs also perform wider duties including habitat restoration and it may be appropriate, in the light of the potential for greater enforcement activity in future, to consider the core functions necessary to enforce the regulatory system which is developed.
79. We agree with the recommendations of the WFR that the system of enforcement through water bailiffs should be retained but changes made to introduce democratic control over warranting and ensure appropriate scrutiny, accountability and complaints procedures. We consider that bailiffs should continue to be employed at a local level but be free to seek employment anywhere in Scotland once warranted.
80. The system of water bailiffs is unusual in terms of law enforcement but it does provide a strong element of local knowledge and experience in a specialist area of law. Anyone exercising powers under the law must do so within a framework which has appropriate training, along with checks and balances embedded to ensure accountability for use of that power. Training and CPD for bailiffs is a key component of the parallel workstream being taken forward by IFM, and has the linked potential to ensure retention of key expertise and personnel in fisheries management.
Q30. Do you agree that the principles of the existing bailiffing system should be retained, but with amendment to set compliance within an appropriate framework of accountability with warrants issued by the national unit?
Q31. Are there other mechanisms for enforcing fisheries legislation that should be considered?