The Police – Do they really work for us?

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Comment
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve commented before on the impartiality of the police with regards to the Badger Cull and the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004 but a couple of stories came to my attention over the last week which, although a microcosm of the larger picture perfectly highlights how our forces treat both legal and peaceful protest as well as the Hunt Saboteurs who monitor and stop illegal hunting through direct non-violent action.

The first incident happened back in November 2013, the 23rd to be precise when the cull was in full swing in Gloucestershire and tensions were obviously running fairly high. It involves the Chairman of the Bristol NFU branch, a certain Mr Simon Pain. Mr Pain himself would like to paint a picture of being an all-round good guy and nature lover with involvement in http://letnaturefeedyoursenses.org and also http://www.billowfarm.com yet judging by his eagerness to kill one of our iconic native species and act as a low level enforcer this is clearly a cloak of deceit he’s hiding behind while conducting his own aggressive agenda. It’s also pretty well known that the NFU were the driving force behind the Badger Cull, an organisation which only represents 18% of farmers yet those that it does represent own 80% of the land farmed. It’s pretty straightforward to draw some simple conclusions from those facts and understand what type of organisation you’re dealing with. Because of this the power and influence over Government policy and, it seems the police as well only serves to undermine the long held belief by the majority of voters that we live in a democracy.

Wounded Badger Patrollers - Photo from Gloucesthsire Echo

Wounded Badger Patrollers – Photo from Gloucesterhsire Echo

It is alleged that Mr Pain did run over a 50 year old woman who was part of the peaceful protest of the badger cull in his Land Rover. This woman is still fearful for her safety and wants to remain anonymous. The actual witness statement is below:

Please note some names have been changed for obvious reasons.

On the afternoon / evening in question myself & Jackie had been into Tewksbury Police Station to give statements about the previous harassment by the occupants of V172 MAF

We arrived at Gadfield Elm. It was around 5.30pm & it was dark. We saw that Irina was parked outside the chapel as we passed her as we went past to park at our usual spot in the lay-by opposite Glebe Barn.

On passing the second entrance to the fields we saw that V172 MAF (Mr Pain’s Land Rover) was parked behind the hedgerow in the field. There were no occupants.

On seeing this we turned the car round & shot back down to Irina down at the Chapel & asked if she knew it was there. She had she did & that it’d been there for about two hours. I asked if she knew where the occupants had gone & she said she didn’t but there were people in the fields looking for them. We parked Jackie’s car up at the Chapel & went into the field where he was parked.

At this point a few people were coming down the field. We asked if they’d found him & they said they hadn’t. We had a look round the Land Rover which was empty & were standing chatting when he seemed to appear out of nowhere walking down the field on the same side of the hedgerow as us. He was with a blonde teenage girl & two dogs.

At this point all hell broke loose! He started the engine of the Land Rover & accelerated at high speed towards the road. I started running after him as he reached the road & he swerved at speed left onto the road towards the Chapel. As he veered onto the road I saw Jackie go flying into the bushes on the opposite side of the road. I went over to her. She was very distressed & in pain & said that he’d hit her leg with the Land Rover.

At this point he had stopped the vehicle & everyone was shouting at him. I told him that he’d hit her which he denied. He said he was going to call the Police as he said I’d tried to smash his vehicle window with my torch which wasn’t true.

At that point Kay arrived. She took charge of Jackie so I called an ambulance & the Police. I asked Irina to drive her car in front of the Land Rover & block him in which she did until the Police arrived. I also asked one other girl who was there to put her blue Fiesta behind his car to stop him reversing & getting away.

Kay took Jackie to her car & lay her down on the back seat to wait for the ambulance. Jackie was in shock & seemed confused & in pain.

I left Jackie in the care of Kay & went back to the Land Rover which was blocked in. Simon was on the phone & someone told me that he was calling some friends for back up. I took a photo of him but couldn’t get one of the girl as she had put a scarf round her face.

Believing he was calling for back up & expecting a car full of his friends to arrive at any moment I called 999 again. It had been 20 minutes at this point since my last call. I explained again that Jackie had been hit by a vehicle & we had got the culprit blocked in. The ambulance arrived soon after that & the Police followed a few minutes later. We also had a Police helicopter circling overhead.

The Paramedics took charge of Jackie. Kay stayed with her. I explained to the Police what had happened. He ordered us to remove the cars which were blocking Simon in which we did. They officer in charge went over to Simon to get his version of events whilst leaving a number of officers to watch us. I could see that the Police Officer was laughing & joking with him which upset Jackie as she felt that her injuries weren’t being taken seriously. The Police who were instructed to stay with us were asking for our names & addresses which I reminded people that they didn’t have to give. The majority of us refused. A couple of people gave details as the Police threatened them with arrest if they didn’t.

The senior officer came back to me & said that Simon had complained about us harassing him. At this point I informed him that myself & Jackie had given statements to the Police about HIS harassment of us. They asked for the name of the officer we’d given our statements to & I told him.

At this point Drew turned up & the Police told us that they were going to issue both us & Simon with harassment notices & that they were going to investigate the running over of Jackie further. This is when I called Ray & asked for advice on the notices that they were trying to issue to us. He advised not to take them & I relayed that information to everyone. A couple of people did take them but everyone else refused.

At this point they let him go & left. The whole incident took place over the course of 2 1/2 – 3 hours.

As you can see from the statement there are several severe derelictions of duty from the Police involved and also a huge amount a prejudice shown towards the GABS and Hunt Sab members at the scene. First of all the complaints made by the injured party have not been acted upon in the correct manner even though serious offences have been committed. First of all driving on a public footpath is an offence in itself and the collision with a pedestrian, in any other situation would result in the offender most likely being breathalysed and arrested. Considering the number of credible witnesses to the offence and the injured party herself it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what has transpired. It is also concerning the time it took for them to react to the incident and arrive on the scene. In one night alone in a very small radius of operations I counted 7 police wagons all containing 6 officers, 6 marked vehicles containing 4 officers and 2 4×4 type vehicles containing 2 each. With that level of police presence a unit should have been on the scene in a matter of minutes and their lack of response shows they weren’t taking the incident seriously. I wonder how quickly they would have arrived had the complaint come from the NFU?

Out of their depth?

In the dark and out of their depth

To rub salt into the wounds the police seemed to show an obvious level of favouritism toward Mr Pain, laughing and joking with him when they should have been locking him up and taking him to the station in a manner befitting the crimes he’d committed which could have potentially caused a threat to life. The police have then intimidated the witnesses in a completely unlawful manner, treating them as criminals and demanding details when they had no legal requirement to do so. We should also note that prior to the incident above Mr Pain had been reported on three other occasions to the police for harassment and intimidation, anyone else behaving like this would have got an ASBO or have been prosecuted under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Clearly Mr Pain believed he was untouchable and this lead him to behave in the manner described above.

So what conclusions can we draw from this?

Firstly the police, contrary to their claims were clearly in cahoots with the NFU. It has also been widely reported that NFU members were actively involved in the police control room. The NFU members were obviously well known to the police and as such the police showed a complete disregard for the witness statements if it contradicted that of the NFU’s official. This kind of behaviour is a severe breach of the policing guidelines and proves they were nothing more than a private security firm acting on behalf of a non-elected corporate entity.

Secondly we have to question where and when these directives were issued. Was it just some bad officers reacting poorly to a situation when they saw one of their friends from the NFU involved or was it, as I and many others suspect, an order from senior officers to crack down on any type of lawful and legal protests in the cull zone whilst at the same time giving a free reign to the NFU to intimidate those taking part in the protests and thus forcing them out of the area so more sustained killing could take place? From my own experience in Gloucestershire it was obvious to me the police were way out of their depth in the dealings with both the sabs and the GABS protests. These were educated people, a unified middle section of England, who largely knew their rights and were effective in their protests. In the face of such well organised resistance they reverted to type and treated people like incoherent drunks at chucking out time in the city centres, using heavy handed methods and unnecessary force. It seemed to me that most officers had no idea what was going on or how to deal with what they were faced with, some of them had no idea where they actually were and asked for directions!

Final word on this subject comes from Tina Martin of the GABS Police Liaison Team:

“We have a long list of other offences they are pursuing with Gloucestershire Constabulary including five firearms offences, multiple incidents of harassment and intimidation, wildlife crimes and culling on land without the owner’s knowledge or consent. These are just the tip of a very large iceberg, we have records of dozens more offences committed by pro-cull activists, and very few have been dealt with properly by the police. Acts of intimidation on our patrols became so commonplace that members stopped reporting them all.”

“However, it is clear the police were totally unprepared for the level of criminal activity by these people, whereas they pursued lawful objectors to the cull in a very heavy handed and prejudiced way. They have claimed strenuously that their actions were impartial but our evidence proves the opposite. Whether the cull continues or not, we will pursue these cases until they are resolved. Meanwhile, the government’s claim that the cull was safe has started to sound a little hollow.”

My second issue came to light through the publication of a video and report from the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs and highlights how biased the police are when dealing with the hunt sabs and indeed protecting illegal hunting.

After viewing the footage you’re left with no doubt Northamptonshire Police are under instructions to impede, harass and generally be obnoxious to the sabs in any manner they deem fit to employ with no real justification for their actions. In the video they claim their actions are justified citing breach of the peace laws or interfering with the lawful activity of another person or persons when in fact all they’re doing is directly assisting in the course of an illegal activity, they may as well kill the foxes themselves. That particular officer (Sargent 348 Holton) should check the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004; he might just be surprised and learn something. My own experiences with regards to hunts has shown the police will arrive mob handed and very quickly (and even have their own liaison officer) when called by the hunt and be quick to demand personal details without a lawful entitlement yet when the hunt or its supporters become violent they’re nowhere to be seen or will simply rock up hours later claiming lack of resources. Those resources never seem to be in short supply when even the helicopter has been put up to keep tabs on the location of sabs in the area.

These actions just drive an even bigger wedge between the public and police when confidence in them is at an all-time low. So in answer to my opening question; do the police really work for us?

Well, unless you’re a large & powerful corporate entity, a significant land owner or someone who likes to torture and kill wild animals for fun or indeed a government then the simple answer in no, they don’t and what’s even worse is we’re paying for the pleasure of it.

Thanks to Pete & Tina Martin from GABS for the information.

Comments
  1. Christopher Evans says:

    I and a colleague got nicked at the exact place the night before by Avon & Somerset bullies. We were harassed shortly before this by an unknown ‘farmer’ too … So much for ‘impartial’ policing eh ???

  2. smithy says:

    I was also hit by a car on a public right of way by a pro cull farmer. He’s a known heavy drinker and the police were told this by one of his own relatives at the time. Was he breathalysed – no. Was the incident investigated – No. He said I had deliberately jumped onto the bonnet of his car. I was walking with 2 crutches at the time and could no more jump than fly to the moon. I don’t think it was deliberate. He was so busy shouting through his car window at another protester that he just didn’t see me. But that doesn’t make him any less of a twat or any less subject to the law. Feeling let down.

  3. Mo Young says:

    am appalled to read this……..have you complained to the police commission? have you contacted the Guardian and or Daily Mirror, who are, alas, the only papers supposed to be anti the cull or hunting!!

  4. Jain Sphinx says:

    Complaints have been made, Mo Young. I was also arrested (with Christopher Evans), was ‘man-handled’ unnecessarily and was also inappropriately searched by male officers. Our complaints are going ‘around the houses’ and I’m not holding my breath that any action will be taken against the officers who harassed us and didn’t, in fact, even read us our rights! During our 3 months anti-cull activities in Gloucester, we were constantly stopped, harassed, detained, waylaid and treated like terrorists. We were threatened with physical violence and called c**ts by farmers who got out of their vehicle and approached us in a ‘frenzy of hatred’. The police were not interested in that, however, or the vehicles we saw with lights not working (indeed, one police vehicle used by police to bring them to film us had a back light that wasn’t working). Scandalous. Most of the public have no idea what went on. Non-partisan is not a term I’d use. It was obvious to us from the start whose side they were on.

  5. Jain Sphinx says:

    And sorry, Smithy… Of course you feel let down: you WERE. We all were.

  6. john says:

    it seems to me that you seemed to be out to disrupt as much as possible, you claim you had just come from the station to report him for harrassment but straight away you go onto private land to acost the man you say is harrassing you..why not stay from him if hes that bad..?? or did you think you could start some trouble and claim harrassment, secondly if the lady was indeed run over by a landrover then she would of needed to be airlifted out of there, so maybe more intent to cause more hassle for this man

    • I would suggest that not everyone who is struck by a vehicle requires the air ambulance. Most are dealt with by paramedics as is the case here. The statement is true to my knowledge and corroborated by several witnesses at the scene.

  7. Clare Ward says:

    Absolutely disgusted with the police, a complete waste of tax payers money, the police should be charged with aiding & abetting criminals who are illegally hunting Foxes.

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