Ross-shire Massacre: local MSP tries again for review of police investigation

In November 2014, Dave Thompson, the local MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, wrote to the then Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill, to ask for a review of how Police Scotland had handled the investigation into the deaths of 22 raptors that had been found poisoned near Conon Bridge (the Ross-shire Massacre). The Police had been severely criticised for their handling of this case, not just for the investigation itself but also for what many of us believed to be an appalling media strategy. We blogged about it here.

Here is a copy of Dave Thompson’s letter to the Cabinet Secretary:

Dave Thompson MSP letter to Justice Sec

We didn’t hear anything further so an FoI was recently submitted to the Justice Department to find out what had happened.

It turns out that in December 2014 Mr MacAskill’s successor, Michael Matheson, had responded to Dave Thompson’s request by stating that he couldn’t comment about a live, on-going police investigation but suggested that Mr Thompson should raise any concerns with the Chief Constable. Here is a copy of Mr Matheson’s letter:

Justice Minister letter

Almost a year on from his first request, and with no sign that the Police investigation has made any progress in the 18 months since the dead birds were discovered (see here), Dave Thompson has now written to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland to urge him to issue an interim report on the first stages of the Police investigation of this case. His second request for a review was no doubt influenced by the recent release of an excellent short documentary video (see here) about the mass poisoning.

Dave Thompson MSP said: “I appreciate the need to await the full review into the investigation, especially as the case is live, and as such, we must be sensitive to the investigative process.

However, I feel enough time has elapsed that the general public are owed an explanation of where the case is at, which is why I have requested an interim review to be issued by Police Scotland, so we can see how the process has been handled in the early stages.

I have written to the Chief Constable and copied in the Chief Superintendent, Julian Innes, and the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson, on the matter.

I look forward to hearing back from the Chief Constable as soon as is practically possible on what is an issue that still remains a concern to many of my constituents and beyond“.

Here is the transcript of his latest letter:

Dear Chief Constable,

Given the length of time that has passed and the failure to date to bring a culprit to justice, I am writing to ask if Police Scotland could issue an interim report on the first stages of the investigation, perhaps the first six months, into the raptor deaths around Conon Bridge. 

As you know there is considerable public anger at the incident and I believe this would go some way to helping people understand how seriously the Police are taking the investigation and the constraints you may have been under in the early stages.

Yours sincerely

Dave Thompson SNP MSP


9 thoughts on “Ross-shire Massacre: local MSP tries again for review of police investigation”

  1. Keep up the pressure everyone…although it is just possible that this was the work of some lone nutter it is far more likely that several people will know what really happened here but someone will only “break cover” if the story is kept alive.

  2. The recent film about the Ross-shire Massacre seems to have stirred up much interest among the various media outlets including a spot on a TV news channel. Facebook in particular has had many likes and posts showing the depth of feeling this criminal act towards our protected birds of prey has aroused. It’s more than obvious that the police come out of this fiasco very badly, and rightly so. Judging by the outraged response shown by people in general regarding this despicable act, it shows the police need to improve their relations with the public without losing any more face than they have done so already. It’s time they started to earn their pay and do something positive to apprehend the known raptor persecuting criminal/s, how many more times are we supposed to put up with police failures and inaction before they do their job correctly.

  3. Lets not forget sheriff Kevin drummonds reply when asked publically at a police wildlife conference iif Scotland could learn anything from a previous Spanish case which resulted in a similar sentence
    ” get a life…………there only birds”. Was the response.

    This reply perhaps gives us an explanation as to why Scotland has such difficulty grasping the nettle and dealing with wildlife criminals any differently from others who break the law.

    Sheriff Drummond has been a significant member of PAW scotland and has deliverd training and direction to police wildlife crime offices………

    1. So that’s why they’re so rubbish at it, having said that it depends which side of the fence you’re on whether you think they’re rubbish or not !!!

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