Last month, Police Scotland issued a press statement and an appeal for information after what was described as a ‘deliberately shot buzzard’ was found in woodland at Monimail, near Ladybank, Fife (see here for original police appeal).
[Buzzard photo by Jerome Murray]
Today, Police Scotland has issued another statement, this time on the Fife Police Division’s Facebook page, stating that the buzzard hadn’t been shot at all.
Sometimes I despair. This isn’t rocket science. Why on earth did Police Scotland put out an appeal for information about a ‘deliberately shot buzzard’ without actually confirming that it had been shot?!
It’s good that they’ve now updated the information and clarified that it wasn’t actually shot at all, but the consequence of making the basic error in the first place is that it’ll be used by the raptor persecution deniers and apologists within the game-shooting industry to cast doubt on the veracity of other, genuine, raptor persecution incidents.
Another consequence is that these examples of ineptitude (and see yesterday’s report about Derbyshire Police’s basic procedural errors, here) don’t inspire public confidence in the police’s general ability to investigate these crimes properly, and that’s damaging when the police are often reliant on reports from members of the public about suspected raptor persecution and other wildlife crime offences.
Thankfully, these examples of ineptitude are relatively rare and certainly not the norm in the field of raptor persecution investigations, where there are many excellent, motivated and skilled officers leading on investigations.
Nevertheless, these mistakes simply shouldn’t be happening.