Our operation last weekend against our favourite hunt (the Oakley) was hugely successful and more importantly a huge embarrassment for them as they were hosting the Cambridge & Enfield Chace. They stubbornly rode around the countryside trying to hunt but were completely thwarted, they packed up well before their normal time at 2:15pm. The real interest here was once again the deployment of the police helicopter as well as ground units.

The air unit was on the scene for a significant amount of time and was of course there to monitor the saboteurs and not the attempted illegal hunting going on in full view. I’ve had meetings with the PCC for Bedfordshire, Olly Martens and a senior inspector and they informed me in no uncertain terms that they would never authorise the use of the air asset for such an incident. They simply cannot afford to do so. The financial restrictions on the police in Bedfordshire are significant and this is affecting their capabilities. Olly also confirmed his support for the hunting ban which was good to know.

chopper

Happy your taxes are paying for this?

As several counties share the use of the helicopter we can deduce that a bordering force was responsible for the deployment of such an expensive asset. The operation was on the border with Cambridgeshire so we can safely assume it came from them. I’ve mentioned previously that vocal hunt supporters have claimed someone senior within the Cambridgeshire force rides, or has strong connections with the hunt and every time we turn up to oppose them, resources are put into play as if money was no object.

I’m pretty sure most tax payers, regardless of their thoughts on hunting would be annoyed that vast sums of money were being squandered in support a minority pass time that was banned in 2004. Is monitoring saboteurs what the police helicopter is really there for? I’ve sent a FOI request asking for the costs and who authorised it. I know the police read this blog (hi guys) so if any of you feel the need to comment then please do so. If and when we find out the name of the person with the authority to order a police response like this then it will be published which could make things very difficult for them. First and foremost the police should remain impartial, any proven deviation from this and the misuse of public money is nothing more than gross misconduct and they should face the consequences.

UPDATE: I just had the response from Cambridgeshire Police to my FIO request. It would seem they have no record of the incident and are claiming the jurisdiction falls under Bedfordshire Police. Now either they’re lying or our person with contacts is part of the Bedfordshire establishment and not Cambridge. If the PCC is unaware of this then there could be further ramifications. Clearly more digging is required.

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