Despite the current COVID-19 restrictions in place, it has been heartening to have had regular correspondence with so many of the SPARC partners over the past 7 weeks. It has also been encouraging that SPARC has been involved in various discussions during this time including National Police Chief’s Council on Heritage matters, cross border liaison on criminality specialising in rural crime both sides of the border, various joint media releases plus excellent utilisation of the Rural Watch Alert system by internal and external partners as a means to communicate key messages throughout Scotland.
In terms of rural crime, with the exception of flytipping which has and continues to spike, rural crime across Scotland has significantly decreased, obviously due in the main to current COVID-19 restrictions plus hopefully as well to recent apprehensions north and south of the border and increased visibility of police patrols in rural locations. From all estimated and actual costs quoted, the total cost of reported rural crime across Scotland for April 2020 was £188,390. A total of £114,000 was recovered, the majority of which relates to stolen agricultural plant, machinery and quad bikes. This compares to a total reported rural crime figure of £440,255 and a total of £77,626 recovered for April 2019
Of note, Emma Harper MSP, Scottish Parliament Members Bill relating to ‘Dogs (Protection of Livestock) (Amendment)(Scotland) Act 2020’ was published recently. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, it is difficult to know when the legislative process will return to normal but it is hoped the Bill will be considered in the parliamentary session following the summer break. Please click the link to view the Bill: https://beta.parliament.scot/bills/dogs-protection-of-livestock-amendment-scotland-bill