A mobile phone application has been launched which means people who witness wildlife crime can record and report suspected cases directly to the police via their iPhones.
The app is the brainchild of former wildlife crime education officer Andy Turner who wanted to improve the detection and reporting of wildlife crime throughout Scotland. The app allows users to access basic guidelines on what to do and what not to do at a crime scene and provides an on screen form to record the suspected offence. Users can attach two photographs which are automatically tagged with a GPS reference of the location and the information is then sent to Police Scotland via email.
As Andy Turner has stated “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 phone technology.”
Wildlife crime threatens a far greater range of creatures and plants than one may imagine, even damaging the environment upon which they depend. In short, it is the illegal destruction and theft of animals, plants and habitats in both the countryside and urban areas. It can involve anything from poisoning a golden eagle to cracking open freshwater pearl mussels.
The app has received the support of Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse as he said “ This reporting app will be an extremely useful tool in the fight against wildlife crime and I would like to thank all those involved in its development.”
“Wildlife crimes 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.”