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Gamekeepers: We need national body to protect raptors

Earlier this year the force responded to a Holyrood committee’s question about the tags’ reliability saying: “There is still a margin of failure.

“From an investigator’s point of view, it is often difficult to hang your hat on a tag’s disappearance definitely being the result of persecution. There is no doubt that that will be the case on some occasions, but differentiating between tag failure and persecution is a real challenge.

“In the past six months to a year, there have been instances of birds seeming to disappear then to reappear due to issues with the tags. That is always a challenge for us.

“On the recording of crime, we need to be absolutely certain that a crime has taken place – as opposed to just considering that, in all probability, a crime has taken place – before we can record the incident as a crime.”

Mr Hogg said that since Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), a division of the Scottish Government, currently administer a scheme investigating suspected poisonings of animals, there is a precedent for ministers to seek independent expertise in collating data on wildlife crime.

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