Wildlife crime in Scotland: 2017 annual report

The sixth wildlife crime annual report, with new data from the financial year 2016 to 2017.

Appendix 2 - Notes and Definitions for COPFS Data

  • Following a review of policy to take account of Data Protection considerations, COPFS does not normally disclose statistical information for data entries fewer than five to ensure it meets its obligations under the Data Protection Act 2018. As such, where the number of cases is fewer than 5, these figures have been replaced with an asterisk. In some cases, it may have been necessary to apply a further suppression to a figure equal to or higher than five to prevent other suppressed data being deduced through subtraction. This applies to all data being published by COPFS where Data Protection considerations apply
  • The information provided was compiled on 6 November 2018
  • The figures reflect current Scottish Government offence categories
  • The figures relate to cases in which at least one statutory wildlife offence was reported to COPFS. The figures may also include those reported as animal welfare offences only or in which a common law offence with a wildlife element has been reported, such as breach of the peace or culpable and reckless conduct
  • The figures represent the number of cases reported and their outcomes but where cases have been combined, only one is counted. A case may relate to multiple incidents and to multiple accused persons
  • Where cases involve more than one accused person and the outcome for each person is different, they are counted at the level of the highest outcome only. For example if one person is acquitted while another is convicted, the case is shown as a conviction
  • Cases which contain several charges falling into different categories are listed only once. 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
  • Since 2012, the poaching of game birds has been an offence under section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is now categorised as "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) which have been accepted, or deemed to have been accepted, by the accused and warning letters, subject to one exception where a conditional offer of an alternative to prosecution was unsuccessful
  • COPFS uses a live operational database and the information contained within it is structured accordingly. Information provided may therefore be subject to change as our systems are updated for operational reasons. A 'conviction' is where a case involving a wildlife offence 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 an element which directly relates to a relevant wildlife offence

Further information on prosecutorial decision making is available in the COPFS Prosecution Code at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/images/Documents/Prosecution_Policy_Guidance/Prosecution20Code20_Final20180412__1.pdf


Email: Hugh Dignon

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