Wildlife crime app launched in Scotland

An app has been launched that will enable people to record and report suspected cases of wildlife crime directly to Police Scotland via their iPhone. The app is the brainchild of former wildlife crime education officer Andy Turner who was looking for a way to improve awareness, detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland.

Nov 20, 2013
By Paul Jacques

An app has been launched that will enable people to record and report suspected cases of wildlife crime directly to Police Scotland via their iPhone. The app is the brainchild of former wildlife crime education officer Andy Turner who was looking for a way to improve awareness, detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland.

The app allows users to access basic guidelines on ‘do’s and don’ts’ at a crime scene and complete an on-screen form to record the suspected wildlife crime. Users can also attach two photographs which are automatically tagged with a GPS reference of the location. The information is then sent to Police Scotland by email.

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change and chair of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) Scotland, said: “This reporting app will be an extremely useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime. Wildlife crime incidents can often go unreported. I hope that the app will be used to provide valuable information to wildlife crime officers and help us continue to build a more accurate picture of the extent of wildlife crime in Scotland.”

Mr Turner explained: “Scotland has a population of 5.3 million people. With more and more of these people now accessing the countryside an excellent opportunity exists to raise awareness of both wildlife crime and legal countryside practices and improve reporting of crime by employing readily available mobile phone technology.”

Police Scotland wildlife crime coordinator, Sergeant Andy Mavin, said: “The wildlife crime app is an excellent idea that I am sure will improve both the accuracy and efficiency of reporting and improve the overall detection of wildlife crime. The ability to tag a GPS location to a report will assist officers in locating the incident – which by their nature are often in very remote locations – while adding to evidential value.”

The app also reminds users not to touch potentially dangerous traps or poisons and never to approach suspects.

The app is available to download free from the Apple iTunes store or http://www.scotland.gov.uk.

While it is initially available only for the iPhone, it is hoped that the app will eventually be rolled out to other mobile operating systems.

PAW Scotland includes the police, conservationists, land management groups and the Scottish government.

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