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Wildlife: Crime

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many wildlife crime officers there were in each year since 1997 for which figures are available, broken down by region. (202681)

The requested information, on number of wildlife crime officers, is not collected centrally.

Decisions on how wildlife crime is addressed, including decisions on resourcing and staffing, are matters for the police service. These decisions will be made by the chief constable in the light of the competing demands on the force and the priorities of the local communities.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many wildlife crimes were committed in each year since 1997 for which figures are available, broken down by region; and how many successful prosecutions there were. (202682)

Data on the number of wildlife crimes committed nationally are not held centrally. However, data on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Protection of Badgers Act 1992, Deer Act 1991, Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulation 1997, and the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, by police force area, in England and Wales since 1997 can be viewed in the following table. This information is only held at a national level and cannot be broken down regionally.

These data are on the principal offence basis. The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences, the offence selected is the one for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Protection of Badgers Act 1992, Deer Act 1991, Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulation 1997, and the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, in England and Wales for the years 1997 to 20061,2,3,4

Proceeded against

Found guilty

1997

166

110

1998

106

70

1999

125

70

2000

113

64

2001

140

96

2002

104

64

2003

110

63

2004

135

96

2005

108

66

2006

190

130

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

3 Includes the following Statutes:

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Protection of Badgers Act 1992

Deer Act 1991

Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulation 1997

Conservation of Seals Act 1970

4 Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.

Source:

Court proceedings data held by RDS—Office for Criminal Justice Reform—Ministry of Justice