Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee's report on Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs)...Read more
The Countryside Alliance has welcomed a recent intervention from Ben Wallace MP regarding the police’s perceived tolerance of hunt saboteurs. In his article for The Daily Telegraph, the former Defence Secretary depicted the many accounts of violence and vandalism faced by lawful trail hunts that are ignored by police officers – echoing sentiments that the Alliance has been vocal about for many years.
Wallace cautioned: “Thuggery is being tolerated and local police leadership inaction is in danger of undermining the consent so vital to allowing officers to do their job. Some police chiefs have clearly taken the decision to turn a blind eye, or perhaps they wish to focus on other things and hope we all just go away. A few have even tried serving Asbos on legal hunts rather than the threatening mob. Policing, like justice, should be administered without fear or favour.”
Citing Extinction Rebellion and their often chaotic demonstrations, he argued that the trendiness and perceived ‘political correctness’ of a cause has influenced police’s decisions on how – and whether to – respond to protestors. He argues that this amounts to an alienating and one-sided form of policing which places the interests of those who break the law above those who obey it.
Wallace noted that this issue is not a matter of police authority or power. He explained:
“The police have numerous laws and powers to stop this thuggery and obstruction. But their leadership seems scared to use them.” Police can identify, log, and prosecute hunt saboteurs but many choose not to.
The Countryside Alliance’s Director of Hunting Polly Portwin said:
“We welcome Ben Wallace’s recognition of the ongoing discrimination in the policing of hunt saboteurs. It cannot be right that these bullies are able to carry out their campaigns of terrorising law-abiding rural people.
“We urge police across the countryside to take their activity incredibly seriously, both for the safety of the hunting community but also the wider public.”
To read Ben Wallace’s article in full, click here.