Environmental and wildlife crime
Sentencing environmental and wildlife offences can be quite different from the majority of criminal offences, particularly with regard to the assessment of culpability and harm. For example, there may be a public policy aspect to some cases, where the harm or the risk of harm is to the public at large rather than to an identifiable victim. In addition, the offender may be a company rather than an individual. We therefore believe that a guideline addressing environmental and wildlife offences would be of public benefit, these being matters of particular significance to Scottish communities and indeed the Scottish economy.
While some preparatory research on environmental and wildlife offences has been carried out, work in this area has been deferred until such time as the Council has the capacity to focus more fully on it. This decision was taken primarily to allow more resources to be allocated to work on high priority sexual offences guidelines, though it also reflects the likelihood of changes being made to wildlife offence penalties following the recommendations of the Wildlife Crime Penalties Review Group.
As a result, it is unlikely that we will achieve our aim of issuing a guideline on this topic during the 2018-21 business plan period.