Posts Tagged ‘Conflict of Interest’

You may remember that some time ago I suspected a senior member of the local police was a rider with the Oakley hunt (see here). To recap, my suspicions were aroused when multiple units would attend a fox hunt and sometimes even the police helicopter. What you have to remember is that this is from a county where police funding is critically poor and has the large urban conurbation of Luton to police. So how do they justify all this expense, clearly someone was pulling some strings.

I then did some digging on one of the new masters of the Oakley and turned up this little beauty (see here). Now I try not to tar everyone or organisations with the same brush. I like to take people as I find them and reserve judgement on their actions rather than words so consider myself fairly even handed when dealing with the boys and girls in blue. Cambridgeshire police have certainly come up trumps in their investigation of the Fitzwilliam and my experience of them in the field has been generally positive. With this in mind we’ve had a continued dialogue and meetings with representatives from all 3 local forces, Beds, Herts and Cambs.

In a recent email to the Bedfordshire area commander outlining some concerns I had for the coming hunting seasons, he informed me that he had passed on the policing of hunting to our wildlife liaison offer and had also passed on my correspondence. Now that seemed fair, hunting would certainly be covered by that officers remit however straight away the name he gave me started to ring some bells – Inspector Tracey Day.

I know our local badger group had made several complaints to her regarding badger persecution and little had been done but that wasn’t what was making my spider senses tingle, it was something else. It then dawned on me – remember this picture from a blog post a few weeks ago?

beds police equine team

Pictured here is Steve Harris, now a master of the Oakley, also in the picture is Inspector Tracey Day. So straight away we have a link between a master of the hunt and a serving police officer. Not much there though I guess but a little further digging turned up little snippet from the Bedfordshire On Sunday.

press-cutting

So Tracey clearly has links to the Oakley going back a very long time indeed. It’s well know that hunts have Pony Club sections to encourage youngsters to start hunting, that is indeed their sole purpose. Are to we safely assume then that Tracey hunts with the Oakley? I checked all my previous video and while the images of the person riding are inconclusive I sent some pictures to a horse expert friend of mine and she’s 90-95% sure the horse is the same as one that Tracey rides (not the one shown below). Whether she does or not I believe there is enough of an association to be a conflict of interest and she certainly shouldn’t be responsible for policing of hunts within the country. I outlined this potential conflict in another email to the area commander and he had informed me that the matter had been pushed further up the chain of command. I’m currently waiting to see what develops.

tracey-day

Inspector Tracey Day with one of her horses (2010).

One interesting little point to note is that Bedfordshire police don’t seem to regard illegal hunting with hounds as any concern. Their priorities regarding wildlife crime can be found here. There is no mention whatsoever of the hunting act and yet coursing and poaching are listed. One has to wonder why this is the case but I’m fairly sure we can all make our own minds up. Perhaps you should contact the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire and ask for their policy on hunting and if she thinks there’s a conflict of interest occurring here. Kathryn Holloway can be contacted on 01234 842064 or email pcc@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

Let me know if you get any response.

UPDATE: I’ve just been contacted by the Chief Inspector and we shall discuss matters tomorrow. Lets see what transpires.