Last night The One Show took us to Stonehaven to visit the Grampian Police Wildlife Crime Officer.
David MacKinnon works full time to investigate possible crimes such as game poaching, "offenses against badgers and birds", hare coursing, poisoning, trapping, nest destruction, egg collecting...the list goes on and on. I think it's brilliant that every Scottish police force has a wildlife crime coordinater: Someone who keeps an eye on the human-wildlife interface to check that endangered species are protected.
The One Show had Miranda Krestovnikoff follow the story of a dead buzzard which had a cricular wound that might have been from a bullet (and was subsequently found to come under "natural causes"). Although The One Show had a giggle, the police are very serious and will actually send of samples to crime labs to check for poisoning.
Like in any crime investigation they look for motives amongst the human community: does the game breeder want rid of the Kite that hunts his pheasants? Is that local farmer having suspiciously fresh Salmon again?
It's quite clear how this benefits the wildlife but for those living in the community the Wildlife Police are also keeping their sites of outstanding natural beauty and special scientific interest safe and pristine. In my opinion it's highly valuable to have specific police to whom offenders are answerable. It represents a committment of the community to keep their environment healthy and should be commended.
I'm very glad The One Show found this worthy of the time. Good work chaps!