Outpaced: The Badger Culls and the Road to Damascus

Posted: May 23, 2016 in Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

We have another guest slot for you this week, this time from the good people at ‘Outpaced‘ so it’s straight over to them to fill you in with everything you need to know about this activists resource.

Outpaced is a group of people who have always declared their love for animals. Devoted pet owners, fiercely anti-bloodsports, haters of fly spray, promoters of bunny-cuteness, and positive celebrants of Facebook photos of matadors getting gored in their genitals – all the while holding this genuine and heartfelt belief whilst shopping for high quality leather shoes, and pontificating hypocrisy at the bacon bap van.

Bizarrely, we owe something to the cheeseburger-faced prime minister and his barely veiled bloodlust, because it was the badger cull brought us our moments of clarity. Beginning almost whimsically, the reality of being out there, seeing the cruelty, and most of all meeting those who tirelessly fight is what has changed us, forever.

And whilst some personal journeys started there (and are still ongoing, although you can expect to see the Outpaced vegan recipe book sometime in the next decade!) it became very clear that something Stop the Cull said in a post is absolutely true – Words mean nothing, action is everything.

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We realised that not only did we have an obligation to act, not to mention an obligation to atone, there was something very specific that we had skills in, and something that was sorely needed in abundance. Police accountability.

Outpaced as a group includes individuals experienced in litigation, experienced in board level negotiation, and critically includes ex police officers and wildlife officers who have an extensive and current knowledge of the law, and of PACE. We are formed with one specific intent – to provide a layer of protection for the activists who give up so much or their time and risk their personal safety to fight this fight right from the front.

The regularity with which these people are assaulted, insulted, harassed, threatened or victimised is shocking – the paucity of the number of cases pursued or investigated by the police even more so.  The repeated failures of individual officers, or more often, senior management of police forces, is a national disgrace that mustn’t be written off as institutionalised bias. It flies in the face of moral expectation, of the national police code of ethics, and it flies in the face of the bloody law – and yet until you see those people who are failed time and again by the body supposed to protect them, you would never believe it was happening. An assault that would be determinedly investigated and charged on the high street is routinely and comprehensively ignored out in the fields and on the bridleways.

Outpaced is here to change that.

Outpaced has a specific mission – to ensure that the police are held to account, and that the people who fight for animal rights get the same policing service that anyone should be able to expect. We will make sure that those who would hunt illegally, who would fill badger setts, who would intimidate, harass, assault or abuse good people are prosecuted where prosecution can be lawfully brought to bear. More than that we intend to force constabularies to police us equitably, according to their own national code of conduct, freeing activists to go about their business.

We are not anti-establishment.  This is for the animals, not for protest.

We are not anti-police.  But we will DEMAND redress when they fail to act.

We are not anti-government.  (Well OK, we are – but isn’t everybody?  That’s what happens when a government is formed of terminally smug and cynically self-interested bastards.) reasonable conduct.  There’s more, but we will cover that later.

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We are not lawyers.   But we have people with specific knowledge, skills and experience. We have particular experience in the application of PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) and in police procedures and when they are broken. And we have the time to take this burden from you whilst you do what so many can’t or won’t.

This is our contribution to the fight.  It won’t cost you a penny. It is how we as a few individuals can have the greatest impact. We are also out in the field targeting police behavior and evidence gathering unlawfulness around the hunt and culls., working alongside activists and sabs.

We will grow, and expand, and we will provide as much as we can, to as many we are able – already the caseload we have taken on has been shocking, and we have started chipping away at not so much the tip of the iceberg as the arctic shelf. We have some positive dialogues with some forces, and are seeing signs of collaboration starting minor but important processes of change. It’s easy to forget there are some superb police officers out there, and we have great examples of that even though sometimes it seems that the constable pre-requisite for police being deployed to hunts and culls is to be as thick as mince.

Yet we are also at odds with forces (Avon and Somerset in this instance) who wilfully support illegality by their officers, who fail to investigate clear failure of process and with officers who operate more like a rogue sheriff in Fort Sumner than a modern British Police ‘service’. A great recent example from them is an officer who arrested an activist without PACE necessity, months after an unsubstantiated SUMMARY ‘offence’ was alleged, conducted an illegal house search in front of terrified children that would only have been lawful for an indictable offence, unlawfully seized phones under S19 PACE which doesn’t apply if you are not lawfully on premises, and then still has the poor activist on bail 7 months after arrest when the time limit for laying before a court is 6 months. The law firm advising the activist will deal with the allegation, but who will hold Avon and Somerset to account for this behavior, which amounts to simple unlawful bullying and discrimination? Without in depth knowledge of PACE and police procedure, most wouldn’t even know this was openly illegal. We will and are.

The scale of the fight is bigger than people outside of our activism community understand, and we need everyone who cares enough stand on that wall doing exactly what they do. Outpaced are here to take this long and protracted fight on for them, and to become a professional thorn in the side of those who would quietly stand by and fail to meet their obligations to us.

Our tagline is ‘Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes’ – often translated as ‘who watches the watchers’, which seemed very apt considering our police NEED watching. But literally the translation is ‘who will guard the guards themselves’. You are the real guards. We will help protect your rights.Outpaced_logo
With great thanks to the Accidental Activist. Find us on Facebook  and let us know how we can help you.

 

Comments
  1. docrichie says:

    If words mean nothing, what is the point of a blog? Some of us fight this government through rational argument and by revealing their appalling politicised knowledge of science. We all do what we can as best we can. Let’s not cause fragmentation; let’s stick together – each using her/his own personal skill to best effect. Good on you!

  2. Shelagh Carter says:

    How absolutely fantastic to know that there is such support available for the amazing sabs who risk all kinds of abuse from the hunting mob and their inbred supporters. And to know that the police are finally going to be taken to task for years of biased policing. Thank you for all that you do – the winners in the end will be the wild life we all care deeply about.

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