Conflict of Interest – Part 2

Posted: November 7, 2016 in Comment
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve just have quite a long and frank discussion with the Chief Inspector for Rural Policing in Bedfordshire north. It would seem they’ve had quite a few complaints regarding the story I published here, so thanks to everyone that took the time to do so. It just goes to prove that the authorities can be spurred into action at the request of the general public.

We spoke about several issues, not just the story I released last week although that of course was the primary reason for his call. With regard to this he gave me his assurances that there was no conflict of interest and although Tracey had in fact ridden with the Oakley in the past she hadn’t done so for many years and that he took the time to look into her activities to the point where he was satisfied she could continue in her post. He also went on to explain the reasons behind her appointment as wildlife liaison officer, citing her love for the outdoors and the wildlife that lives there. Furthermore it was highlighted that she was now training other officers in what to look for with regards to illegal hunting as well as the importance of impartiality and not making snap judgments on who to believe based on their appearance.

Another issue I raised was that of the so called ‘Hunt Stewards’. We all know they are nothing more than thugs and bullies who enjoy violence and the hunts give them a small amount of justification to vent their violent tendencies. He agreed that there is no place for violent behaviour and public safety is their primary concern so we hope that these morons can be caged somewhat and we can go about our business without concern.


I’m fairly certain for them to be laying a trail the rag would have to be on the ground and some distance in front of the hounds.

With regards to policing hunts themselves he reaffirmed the impartiality and the need to recognise what was legal and illegal hunting. My point on that was very clear. The Oakley pay very minor lip service to the law, rarely even laying a trail and if they do it’s usually a half hearted affair of an old rag trailing behind a quad bike, usually some distance behind the hounds. The biggest point I made and one which any officers with a basic understanding of the hunting can grasp is the use of terrier men. Any hunt which employs a terrier man or men, with terriers and spades is hunting illegally. The simple fact is trails don’t go underground or down badger setts. While it may not be illegal for them to be present it is a clear indication of the intent of the hunt and remember, the gamekeepers exemption does not apply if terrier men are attached to a hunt. For that to apply they need no hunt, the written consent of the land owner plus it has to be in defence of livestock, namely game birds as set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Now all of these assurances are all well and good of course but I shall reserve judgment on their actions rather than their words. It will no doubt play out over the coming season and if the attitude of the police improves then I’ll be the first person to be singing their praises. I genuinely hope these are the first steps to a new relationship between the police and hunt monitors/sabs and I’ll keep everyone updated as things pan out.

ADDITIONAL: I purposefully didn’t publish this entry until the events of the weekend had come to their conclusion. The police, for their part were as good as their word. I received regular updates throughout the day and had a direct link to the inspector in the operational control room. She called when there were any developments and also when they themselves required information. The day itself was fairly tough. We had a vehicle rammed which sustained serious damage, we were blocked in by 4 Landrovers filled with thugs all offering to rearrange our features and I was assaulted by one of the thugs, luckily I was wearing an armoured hat so the punch to the back of my head as I was walking away (cheap shot) didn’t knock me out. Had I not been wearing it I have no doubt my bell would have been well and truly rung! He was subsequently arrested and is now on bail pending further inquiries. I was wearing a head cam which was running at the time and the footage has been sent to the police as evidence.


Another interesting incident was the police actually witnessing a fox being chased. Sabs were on hand to cover it’s scent but this clear violation of the hunting act gave the police no option but to warn the hunt for hunting illegally. Long may it continue.

In discussion with the police afterwards it would seem many have had their eyes opened somewhat and although they considered it a successful operation I believe there is more work to be done with regards to the safety of those exercising their legal right to monitor hunts. Section 35 dispersal orders have been used in the past on monitors and sabs and I think the justification is there to use it once again except in this case on those who’s only purpose is to intimidate and be violent. It’s exactly what the Section 35 legislation was intended for and at a single stroke would remove the threat of violence and make policing a whole lot easier.

  1. steven broadbent says:

    good work keep it up .

  2. R Mitchell says:

    Well done and thank you for your efforts.

  3. Rupert Mitchell says:

    Well done and thank you for your efforts.

  4. Coming from a very traditional country background I don’t want to claim to be wholly on your side. But I have changed over the years, and some of the people I have seen scare me. Even as a child I heard stories that disturbed me, that suggested a sociopathic streak lurking amongst fox hunters. I do wonder what the countryside would have looked like after a 20th Century without these “sports” to pay for maintaining the landscape features. but sometimes I wonder if it was worth it. What sort of people does it produce, and how do they see us?

    One of the aspects that sometimes seems to get overlooked is how you maintain a pack of hounds. The dogs get old. What happens then? And how, if you think the law might be changed, do you maintain a pack of hounds that can chase and kill?

    They’re scared of change, and I can sympathise with that, but what they maintain is a culture of violence, human and animal, and that’s worrying. It goes far beyond the appeal of a challenging day riding a horse.

    • Thanks for the honest comment. Regarding the hounds, many are killed after their working life, around the age of 6 or 7 when they start to slow down. It is estimated around 3000 perfectly healthy hounds are destroyed every year.

      Hounds can be trained to follow a non-animal scent. Clean boot hunts are doing it right now, they chase an extremely fit runner and a good day is had by all with no cruelty.

      • Alan Kirby says:

        I’ve been going on about how Hunts use and abuse their hounds for years and urging anti-hunting organisations to make much more of it than they do, but it doesn’t help to quote incredible numbers, especially as 30,000 is actually well more than the total number of hounds UK Hunts possess! My research suggests the true number is between 5 and 7,000, which is quite bad enough. See my workings at
        I’m puzzled by something else you say – the gamekeepers exemption does not apply if terrier men are attached to a hunt. For that to apply they need no hunt, the written consent of the land owner plus it has to be in defence of livestock, namely game birds as set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
        I’d love that to be right, but I don’t think it is. On what do you base this assertion?
        You and all the sabs are doing great work. Alas, I’m past it or I’d be out there myself.

      • I’ll defer to your research regarding the hound numbers, it was a figure which was quoted some time ago although the source alludes me right now. Edit: See my update, a typo on my part.

        I’ve had long discussions regarding the use of terriers below ground with several wildlife crime officers and they all agree terrier men have no place in a legitimate trail hunt (there’s no such thing IMO). Terrier men can use dogs underground (soft terriers) to flush and kill a fox as I described but once they are part of a hunt their purpose is to flush the fox once again to the hounds, this very act is illegal. If the hounds have chased a fox underground and called for the terrier men then the hunt are admitting to pursuing a live quarry. In a recent operation where I had a direct link to the police control room they clearly advised me to call them should the hunt be found using terriers below ground. This is why most terrier men are now concealing their identities.

  5. Derik Palmer says:

    All I can say to that is ‘Good work ad keep it up’. It sounds as though the Police are now making the right noises and even taking some action; lets hope that this page and others make it clear to them that their own conduct regarding the discharge of their duties is being watched and that this present heightened activity isn’t just a flash in the pan.

  6. Elaine Tavner says:

    Well done for your persistence and here’s hoping the police have a bit of a wake-up call!

  7. Bradders says:

    we all know that what those police officers just said was a crock of PC public relations bullshit. The HSA has spent fifty years trying to get their sorry arses to move when foxes are being dug out and chased for miles. aint gonna happen any time soon- so TA TA Bedfordshire police . TA TA and goodnight

  8. Bradders says:

    and its a goodnight bedfordshire police. thanks for trying but failing as always. have they seriously spent all of this time chewing the cud with you over fox hunting politics but not made one single bit of effort to enforce animal welfare laws that exist in this country for a strong reason. they stand by and watch 30 hounds chase a fox and then they have the cheek to go smooching up to you guys. TA TA police- you are as useless as always and none of us would them to change now as we simply would not know what to do when we came across an ethical police officer that actually cares for fox welfare

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