A couple of weeks ago we blogged about how a masked gunman and his masked accomplice had been captured on camera close to a protected raptor nest in a public (Forestry Commission Scotland) forest (here). The incident was recorded in spring 2017 and was reported to Police Scotland.
There have been no public appeals for information from Police Scotland and no warnings to forest users (such as birdwatchers, cyclists, walkers, visiting families) about this serious threat to public safety.
We asked Justice Secretary Michael Matheson and the Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs, Annabelle Ewing, about this issue but neither bothered to respond.
A week later we blogged about how Police Scotland’s reluctance to publicise suspected raptor persecution crimes, such as this one, and others including the use of highly dangerous poisonous baits, was threatening public safety and we urged blog readers to contact their local MSPs and ask them to start asking questions.
We know that some of you have done this (well done and thank you) and we wanted to share some correspondence that one particular couple has received, if only to demonstrate how effective this approach can be.
Let’s call this couple Mr & Mrs Bloggs.
On 16 November 2017, Mr & Mrs Bloggs emailed Police Scotland’s General Enquiries Centre:
Police Scotland responded on the same day with this:
Not to be deterred, Mr & Mrs Bloggs wrote back to Police Scotland:
On the same day, Police Scotland responded with this:
The next day, local Police Wildlife Crime Officer Daniel Sutherland wrote to Mr & Mrs Bloggs:
Although Police Scotland should be commended for speedy responses, Mr & Mrs Bloggs were unimpressed with Police Scotland’s refusal to discuss this case so they wrote to their local MSPs to see if they could get anywhere with them.
It turns out to have been an inspired move. Three MSPs have responded, as follows:
This from David Stewart MSP (Labour, Highlands & Islands, & Shadow Minister for Environment):
This from John Finnie MSP (Scottish Greens, Highlands & Islands):
And this from Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP (Scottish Conservatives, Highlands & Islands):
Well done Mr & Mrs Bloggs! Cross-party political interest in under a week.
Let’s see where this goes.
UPDATE 30 December 2017: Masked gunmen at goshawk nest in Moy Forest (here)