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Plans to increase powers for the Scottish SPCA are flawed, says SCA

Granting increased investigatory powers to the Scottish SPCA would create a conflict between its campaigning and prosecution roles that could damage public confidence in wildlife crimes investigations, the Crown Office and Procurators Fiscals Service (COPFS) has said. This view is shared by the Police Service of Scotland and the Scottish Countryside Alliance (SCA). 

In response to the Scottish Government Consultation into the viability of increased investigatory powers for the Scottish SPCA, Police Scotland commented that the charity’s opposition to snaring and trapping – both legitimate processes within the legal framework – could create tensions and conflict for staff and the organisation and may prejudice of the impartiality of investigations.

Now Scottish Countryside Alliance director Jamie Stewart has added: “The SCA welcomes the Scottish Government’s determination to tackle wildlife crime in Scotland and supports the work of the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime, but we cannot support the suggested increased powers for the Scottish SPCA as we do not believe that inspectors can operate impartiality or without prejudice.

“We note that RSPCA employees in England and Wales are not appointed as inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, reflecting concerns expressed by a wide variety of organisations and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee when examining the Animal Welfare Bill as it went through the UK Parliament.

“Those concerns are identical to those identified in this consultation, especially the appropriateness of appointing employees from an organisation that is a charity and has policies and campaigns which could lead to conflicts of interest and the problems of ensuring proper accountability.”

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