Joining forces to combat countryside crime

Lindsay Kerr
Lindsay Kerr

The first steps have been taken towards setting up a new multi-agency approach to tackling wildlife crime in Fife.

A steering group has been established comprising 11 different bodies that will operate under the umbrella of PAWS - Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime in Scotland - whose objectives are set by the Scottish Government.

The idea is being spearheaded by Fife’s wildlife and environmental crime co-ordinator Lindsay Kerr, who took up his post earlier this year.

He described last week’s inaugural meeting as ‘very positive’ and said that next on the agenda is to set a list of priorities , which can vary according to the season.

They include deer poaching, which is rife in the Kingdom; hare coursing, hunting with dogs, use of air rifles and rural crimes like diesel thefts and crop destruction.

The agencies that have signed up for the initiative include Scottish Natural Heritage, the National Farmers’ Union, the Tay District Salmon Fishery Board, the Forth Valley Salmon Fishery Board, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the RSPB, the Scottish SPCA, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Badgers, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, East Neuk Estates and Living Lomonds.

“Previously I had to go round and speak to everyone separately,” said Lindsay.

“Working as a group provides everyone with a networking opportunity and raise issues that other agencies might not have been aware of.

“We are all working together to achieve the same goals . Fife is unique because there is such a variety of issues and by taking a more co-ordinated approach we are in a stronger position to raise awareness about them and to resolve them.”

Meanwhile police in Fife are maintaining a high profile in local communities through their RuralWatch scheme. which aims to help keep rural communities safe through the sharing of information.

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