Wildlife crime in Scotland: 2015 annual report

The fourth wildlife crime annual report, this highlights new data from the financial year 2014 to 2015.

Appendix 3 - Notes and Definitions for COPFS Data

  • The information was compiled on 24 June 2016.
  • The figures in Table 3 and in the tables in Appendix 3A represent cases reported to COPFS.
  • The figures reflect the current Scottish Government offence categories and include cases reported as animal welfare or common law offences which meet the definition of wildlife crime. The figures for 2012-13 and 2013-14 are now presented by financial year and have been re-categorised in accordance with these categories and by financial year.
  • If several cases have been combined, they are represented by a single outcome.
  • Cases which contain several charges falling into different categories are listed under only one. In most cases, the category will reflect the most significant wildlife offence reported to COPFS by the investigating agency but in some the category may be adjusted to take account of the prosecution of a more appropriate charge or of the conviction recorded.
  • Figures in the "Badgers" category relate to reports submitted to COPFS in which a charge under the Badgers Act 1992 ("the Act") was reported, whether or not it was the lead charge. Further explanation is provided in the supplementary note on Appendix 3A below.
  • Since 2012, the poaching of game birds has been an offence under section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and these cases are now included in the category, "Birds, offences involving".
  • Offences involving the poaching of mammals may be included in the categories "Hunting with Dogs", "Cruelty to wild animals" "Deer" or "Other wildlife offences" depending on the circumstances and the charges reported or prosecuted.
  • Alternatives to prosecution include conditional offers by the Procurator Fiscal ("fiscal fines", etc. under section 302 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995,, accepted or deemed to have been accepted by the accused), warning letters and diversion from prosecution. Diversion from Prosecution is the referral of an accused to the supervision of a social worker, etc. for the purposes of support, treatment or other action as an alternative to prosecution.
  • A 'conviction' denotes any case involving a wildlife offence which has been prosecuted and at least one accused in the case has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of at least one offence having a wildlife element.
  • A single case may relate to multiple incidents and to multiple accused persons. Any case involving more than one accused person, in which the outcome for each person is different, is counted at the level of the highest outcome only. For example if one person is acquitted while another is convicted, the case is counted as a conviction.


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