Police Scotland changes its mind about ‘deliberately shot’ buzzard in Fife

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.

9 thoughts on “Police Scotland changes its mind about ‘deliberately shot’ buzzard in Fife”

  1. ‘…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…’ Sadly this will be so true, you just know it

  2. Yes – a daft mistake ? How could they have been so mistaken? How did the bird die?? BUT to give them their due, they were appealing for information and trying to do something about the bird’s death which is more than sometimes happens elsewhere.

    1. Mobo,

      Indeed, credit for trying to do something but a more carefully-worded appeal, e.g. ‘a suspected persecution incident’ rather than ‘a deliberately shot buzzard’ would have been pretty straightforward.

  3. One has to ask, what led them to make the first statement? Surely if a bird’s injuries are such that that statement could be made straight away, they really need to explain what they now think caused its death?

  4. What has caused the injury then? Or was it shot and the police have been politically influenced again. The mind can’t help being suspicious. Stranger things have happened.

  5. Prior to waiting ages for an official confirmative X-Ray, could police not use one of those hand held airport type metal detectors* to give an early indication of presence or not of lead shot?
    I am hoping to borrow one from a friend, the brand is a “garrett pinpointer” and I am told it is sensitive enough to detect lead shot. Yes I am perhaps daft – but out of curiousity I am intending to scan the corpses of some of the “roadkill” badgers I am seeing in strange places where curiously there is hardly any traffic.

    1. I often wonder about how ” Road kill” comes to be there. Really hope that our suspicions are not confirmed though keen to hear of your results.

    2. Some years ago I received a report that some farmers, who were worried over TB spreading to their cows, but in an area not included in the badger cull, had taken it upon themselves to kill badgers, and then dump their bodies by the roadside, to make it look as though they had been killed by passing traffic. This matter was passed on to my local police force – who did nothing!!!

  6. You do wonder what injuries the bird had that led them to believe it was shot (and there was a comment on the previous blog suggesting two birds had been found).

    Predated either before or after death? (Sea Eagles aren’t unknown in that part of Fife). Puncture wounds from teeth of talons could be mistaken for shot injuries; We don’t know if this was an adult or a juvenile bird.

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