Posts Tagged ‘Police Bias’

We have a guest blog this week, an opinion piece written by someone only known as Scorpiovulpes, a monitor with a vast experience of hunting in England and the often pathetic response of the police and CPS in dealing with this illegal minority pastime. It’s a good read so grab a cuppa and settle in.

I have monitored hunts for twenty five years, and I can honestly say my shock and disgust have not abated one bit during all that time. It seems that the world of hunting is a strange alternative universe existing here among us. All the rules are reversed, all the standard codes are turned on their head.  Accepted norms of behaviour are ignored, and punishment is meted out to the innocent, not the guilty.

The most innocent of the victims of this sinister world are the hunted animals.  There are laws in place in England,  Wales and Scotland which purport to ban hunting and thus protect the hunted animal.  Do they?  Of course they don’t!

These weak laws were drawn up by people who did not understand the true nature of the hunter.  They failed to listen to the people who had the measure of hunters – i.e. the monitors and the sabs.  They totally underestimated the ruthlessness of the hunters, and failed to grasp how determinedly they would continue their cruel pastime no matter what the law said.  They failed to understand that hunters fundamentally believe they are above the law and they can do as they please, that they believe nobody – nobody – can tell them what they may and may not do.

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Openly flouting the law.

And so we have a situation, 14 years after the ban was instituted in England and Wales, where hunting continues unabated, covered by the smokescreen of “trail” hunting.  I will state without hesitation my opinion that trail hunting does not exist, and never has.

It is an illusion – well, basically, it’s a con.

So the monitors still have to go out to hunts and do the best they can to film what is really happening, collecting evidence which, in very rare cases, will actually get to court, but more realistically will form part of the library of shocking evidence which will lead to the strengthening of the Hunting Act and the creation of a real ban on hunting, a true death knell for this vile and barbaric practice.  The sabs still go and risk their safety in order to protect the hunted animals and save the lives of as many as they can.

The hunts are absolutely infuriated by the presence of sabs or monitors, whose safety is at real risk every time they go out.  It is common practice for hunts to call in so called “hunt stewards” – typically a particularly nasty species of inadequate and thuggish person who, given a baseball cap with “hunt steward” on the front, think they’re somebody and start throwing their weight around.  They behave in an unbelievably obnoxious way.  They constantly harass and impede the monitors, surrounding them, continuously trying in every possibly way to wind up the monitor they are victimising (usually a female and/or elderly person) to try and make them lose their cool.  I could write a whole book on this subject, but instead I suggest you view the film of this type of behaviour that you will find on all the monitor and sab Facebook pages, and also on You Tube.  These films speak for themselves, and make grim viewing.

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Hunt Steward hat but dead behind the eyes and delusions of adequacy.

So we have an orchestrated conspiracy to hunt illegally being conducted between the hunts and their lackeys, the whole scenario being  protected from scrutiny by obstructive, menacing and threatening behaviour .

Well, you might say, the police must be very concerned about this.  They must be shocked to see the film.  The CPS must be very willing to act on the clear filmed evidence presented to them.  This is where you need to grasp the extent of the alternative universe we are talking about,  as the very opposite is the case.  Police scrutinise the film to try to pin something on the innocent monitors (or sabs),  They downplay the seriousness of the behaviour of the stewards.  They churn out the old chestnut “six of one and half a dozen of the other” when it would be obvious to a five year old that this is categorically not the case.

Time and again the monitors and sabs are left shocked and disgusted by the lack of action by the law enforcement agencies over the whole scandal of illegal hunting and its attendant intimidation and violence.

So they turn to Facebook.  For all its faults, Facebook has provided a lifeline for campaigners, and has led to a turning point in the general public’s understanding of the sheer and utter horror of illegal hunting, the cruelty, the deviousness, the thuggery  –  the lengths gone to to protect this abomination from scrutiny.  Sometimes when the absolutely disgusting behaviour of a hunt steward is exposed on Facebook or another arena, the subject of the film uses devious means to have the film taken down.  Fortunately this only works short term as their reasons are bogus and the films are usually reinstated.  But this again shows how secretive and how absolutely without morals are the people involved in hunting.

It is not  only the stewards who behave in a revolting way.  People who no doubt consider themselves to be the cream of society will barge you with their horses, swear at you, persistently drive at very low speeds in front  of you to prevent you keeping up with the hunt, even assault you.

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Terrier men – Lowest of the low. What purpose do they have on a “trail” hunt?

So there you have the alternative universe of illegal hunting for your edification.  The hunters throw a threadbare cloak of respectability over themselves with a claim of “trail hunting”.  They lie.  They bully.  They abuse.  They bring in their hunt thugs to protect themselves from scrutiny.  The law enforcers of the land, who are paid by the taxpayer and whom we are told to respect, more often than not support them, sometimes hunt with them.  I have seen a high court judge out hunting, a meet held at a magistrate’s house, ex police officers hunting, uniformed police officers laughing and joking with obnoxious hunt heavies, while a woman monitor was held captive in her car and the police refused to help her.  I have heard a female police officer tell a hunt master she would try and get me to leave the hunt so the hunt could carry on as they wished.  The list goes on and on and on.  You may think that, if the police fail in their duty, there is a robust police complaints system.  All I can say to that is, you try it – and good luck.  Very recently a District Judge found a hunt not guilty of illegal hunting, giving one of the reasons for his decision that he did not believe a hunt master would lie and perjure himself.  This kind of thing leaves those of us at the sharp end of this situation in absolute despair.

I have given you my opinion as a seasoned and long term hunt monitor.  You are free to disbelieve me if you choose, but if so, I ask you to look at the plethora of filmed evidence that unequivocally illuminates the situation.  And ask yourself why all these people would go to such lengths to stop a non-violent individual from legally filming their activities.

We know the public are overwhelmingly against hunting. We know they are absolutely shocked when they see the evidence of what is happening in our countryside on a daily basis during the hunting season.  Between us all we can drag this alternative universe out of the dark ages and expose it to the light.  That way we will see it finally abolished.

That day cannot come soon enough.

 

I’ve had this blog post written for some time but due to an ongoing legal case I’ve held back it’s publication. That case has now been concluded (successfully) so it’s time for this to be in the public domain and may go some way to explain a few things when it comes to the policing of hunts.

I have long suspected that there was a high ranking police officer within our local hunt – The Oakley. In the past their supporters would often brag about it and claim it was down to this person that no action was ever taken against the hunt. You may remember I’ve blogged about this several times in the past and thought I was getting closer to revealing who this was. Each time my lines of inquiry came up short, sometimes I was well wide of the mark but that was largely due to information I was supplied which turned out to be inaccurate. (See here & here.) My suspicions initially arose when multiple police units would attend the hunt as well as air support which would stay on scene for a significant amount of time and at significant expense to the tax payer so it was easy to assume that only someone with some serious clout could authorise these kind of resources to be deployed and potentially leave other parts of the county dangerously low in policing.

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A incident from February 2015 during a visit to the Oakley Hunt. A helicopter was also present on the day. A fox was actually chased between these police cars.

I had never really given up trying to identify the person behind this, although due to one thing and another it had be pushed to the back burner and we seemed to be making progress in our dealings with Bedfordshire Police.

A Breakthrough

The Oakley’s opening meet of the season is always traditionally held at a venue called the Dower House in Melchbourne, Bedfordshire. The location is in the same village as the Oakley Kennels and in the heart of their country and support. This location has recently opened its doors as a business for hosting weddings. Their website is here.

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Quite a posh looking venue.

Now I seem to remember someone mentioning the owner as being a “Jason” and as this was now a registered business I popped over to companies house and did a search to see who indeed owned the business. Sure enough a Jason Gordon was listed as a Director, along with a female who I assumed was his wife, Alexandra Gordon.

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Screen shot from Companies House listing.

Now the logical next step was to do a quick Google search for Jason Gordon to see what popped up. Needless to say I think I’d found my man.

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Detective Chief Inspector Jason Gordon

So things were getting interesting now. We have a very senior police officer (Detective Chief Inspector) with connections to a hunt. Was he still a serving officer? A search for a Linked In profile produced this:

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It would seem he left the police around March 2015 and then took up the role of an Inspector with the HMIC. For those that don’t know the HMIC is the independent body which;

“Independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and fire & rescue services – in the public interest.”

So in essence he works for the service that polices the police and was definitely an acting officer when the incidents of the multiple attending units took place. His role at that time was head of the Serious Crime Office for the tri-force area, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. This guy had some serious clout and ironically also worked for the professional standards department!

Now bells were ringing loudly in my head, this guy looked very familiar and I recollected a couple of incidents from the past where we were treated exceptionally badly by the police present on the day. He was present at at least one of these but referred to himself ‘Jim’. Jason Gordon was known to his friends as Jim. So not only was Jim hosting the hunt as his house but it would seem he was a regular rider and someone of some influence not only with the police but also within the hunt. Further investigation revealed he was also listed as a master of the Oakley, from 1996-98 and again between 2004-06 which was incidentally the transition period when the ban on hunting with hounds came in.

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Jim Gordon at the Oakley Kennels last March.

If you look at the photo above you’ll notice the police vehicle in the background parked in the Oakley kennels. Had Jim been speaking to the officers present and using his previous position to influence they way they behaved? A couple of seasons ago a previous Master of the Oakley, Guy Napier was less an than impressed with the violent behaviour of the thugs that followed the Oakley and did their dirty work. This included assaulting monitors/sabs, theft of their equipment and preventing them from accessing public rights of way. However Mr Napier was clear he didn’t want the hunt to be associated with these people and in his defence they were instructed not to attend further Oakley meets. Unfortunately Mr Napier left the Oakley the following season and now the thugs have been welcomed back even though some now have multiple convictions for assault.

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Oakley Opening meet November 2017

I think it would be safe to assume that Mr Gordon (given his connections) would be well aware of the violent record of these people and willingly accepts them and their behaviour provided they are of service to the hunt. Here you can see Jim (with a female) once again riding with the Oakley. In front of him on the left hand image is Kelvin Pestel, hunt supporter and well known thug who is often present and likes to target female sabs in particular. Despite any protestations to the contrary, Mr Gordon is no doubt linked to them and accepts their thuggish actions.

So the implications seem fairly clear. Have we had a previously high ranking police officer and member of professional standards department bending the rules to suit his dirty little hobby and also wasting large sums of public money at the same time? Was he still using this influence to his advantage with local policing and was he advising the hunt on the best way to carry on hunting while remaining free from prosecution? The Oakley openly hunt and make no pretense of laying a trail or using any other exemptions. The image below was taken during one of their hunts last season, a day when Jim was once again riding with the hunt.

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Fox escapes the Oakley hounds – saved from death by sabs

We have built a good working relationship recently with Bedfordshire police with meetings and open discussions regarding hunting and the policing of, and I don’t believe any of the officers we met with were aware of this situation. If they were they certainly didn’t make it known to me. To say there was (and maybe still is) a conflict of interest here is an understatement and while people like Jason “Jim” Gordon are riding with hunts its easy to see why so little action against them takes place.

Although the HMIC is an independent body you may with to write to them and ask a few questions. They can be contacted here (Link). Should this man be part of an organisation whose role is described below? I don’t think so.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and fire & rescue services – in the public interest.

In preparing our reports, we ask the questions that citizens would ask, and publish the answers in accessible form, using our expertise to interpret the evidence and make recommendations for improvement.

We provide authoritative information to allow the public to compare the performance of their police force – and, in future, their fire & rescue service – against others. Our evidence is used to drive improvements in the services they provide to the public.”

Help keep us active by donating here: https://ko-fi.com/bedsbuckshuntsabs

 

So, we’re only a few weeks into the main hunting season and it’s all kicking off already. We’re getting the usual hunt violence, illegal killing and inconsistent policing, which will be my focus on this blog.

If you’re a follower you’ll already know we’ve been trying to break down the historical differences between the police and those in wildlife protection and, by-and-large we’ve had some success. Bedfordshire police are acting on violence shown by the hired hunt thugs and starting to understand the reality of hunting within the county. While they may not be able to arrest the hunters themselves due to the poorly written legislation they aren’t interfering with our operations to oppose them.

However the same cannot be said for other forces across the country. A couple of weeks ago we sabbed the Puckeridge Hunt, Tim Bonner’s (CEO so called Countryside Alliance) home hunt (full report here) and the police on the day showed a combination of naivety and ignorance. They were naive in that they should never have accepted a ride on the back of a hunt terrier man’s quad bike because it looks very bad for them and puts into question their impartiality (especially when terrier men have no legitimate role in a trail hunt) and ignorant of the laws that were in question on the day. Claiming they have powers to take your details is of course complete nonsense (and we told them so) and asking us to leave private land is also a civil matter, it’s nothing to do with the police.

I explained the situation to them regarding the difference between criminal (illegal hunting) and civil (trespass) and we were exercising our right as citizens to prevent the criminal offence from taking place by trespassing. I don’t believe Hertfordshire Police were acting in bias of the hunt, the officers that attended were just not equipped with the right knowledge to make a reasonable call and unfortunately made bad snap decisions based on preconceived historical prejudice. I’ll be discussing the matter further with Herts rural WCO in due course.

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Herts Police being lied to (probably).

If you read though the report from other sab groups around the country some areas have what can only be described as truly biased forces. There’s forces are openly acting as a private security service and facilitating illegal hunting by their very actions. Norfolk Police would appear to be one of those forces. Our colleagues at Norfolk & Suffolk Hunt Sabs are fighting a constant battle not only against the hunters but also the local police force. Last weekend Norfolk Police arrested a sab at a meet of the Dunston Harriers for Aggravated Trespass.

The offence is as follows: A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land [in the open air] and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land [in the open air], does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

(a) of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

(b) of obstructing that activity, or

(c) of disrupting that activity.

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Norfolk Police riding on hunt terrier man’s quad bike.

Considering the sabs had earlier made calls to the police of illegal hunting which were completely ignored (they had already illegally killed a Hare and the hounds were covered in that animals blood) their claims could easily be justified and therefore the above offence cannot be considered by the police officers. In spite of this an arrest was made, the sab removed in handcuffs and spent several hours locked up in a cell.

Norfolk Police have also released the following statement:

Police were called to farmland in Roudham at about 12.20pm yesterday, Saturday 18 November, following reports of a confrontation involving two groups.

Officers attended and while at the scene, were advised of allegations that a hare had been killed. Both parties were spoken to and a search was carried out. No evidence was found. Anyone with evidence is asked to contact police on 101.

We are aware of images on social media of our officers on a quad bike. While recognising the concerns, the officers had been searching in fields and got into difficulty due to the muddy terrain. At this point, they were assisted by the landowner using a quad bike which at no point travelled on a public road or highway. 

This statement just stinks quite frankly. Regardless of whether the officers were on a public road or not it still shows a level of collusion with the hunt in question. It would also be a question as to whether the police would be insured to be riding around on such a vehicle in that manner. Also what evidence did they think they were going to find of a hare which had been pulled apart by a pack of hounds? The Dunston Harriers could have made up any old tale and it seems the police would have believed them. Remember in the case of AT the burden falls on the prosecution to prove that the activity being interfered with was legal, and in this case a claim had already been made to the contrary which was insufficiently investigated. (See similar case explained here)

Please contact Norfolk Police to complain.

Facebook: Norfolk Constabulary

Twitter

Email the chief constable Simon Bailey.

PCC Lorne Green: opccn@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

Another force which appears to be openly biased is Sussex Police. At the opening meet of the Crawley a& Horsham Hunt a saboteur was assaulted by huntsmen using their horses as weapons, a common tactic for hunts. Bearing my this particular hunt have been convicted in the past of illegal hunting its not a massive leap of faith to assume they would continue to do so. In this case the sab was arrested for assault on the hunters and – you’ll like this, criminal damage to the hunters pocket. Take a look at the video.

It’s very clear that the huntsman on the horse was acting aggressively to the sab and the sab was only trying to defend himself. In such instances serious injury and potentially worse can occur if the sab was knocked to the ground and trampled by the horse, he, and those with him had every right to take whatever action was required to keep themselves safe. It speaks volumes that when sabs or monitors make calls to the police very little is done, if anything at all and yet even when the hunters are the perpetrators of the crime the police will act swiftly in coming to their defence. Time for some more complaints.

Facebook: Sussex Police

Twitter

Cheif Constable Giles York Email.

PCC Katey Bourne: pcc@sussex-pcc.gov.uk

This level of inconsistent policing simply cannot be allowed to continue. We all know the Hunting Act needs strengthening but in the mean time we need to have a national policing initiative which will allow an even handed approach to all concerned along with better understanding of the laws in place. Forces showing an obvious bias should come under increased scrutiny and those responsible removed from their positions. Bias from various forces in nothing new and no doubt it will continue but with the overwhelming support of the British public we can get things changed so start emailing, commenting and tweeting, if its something the police don’t like it’s bad PR.

I was sent a very interesting article to preview prior to publication in the next installment of HOWL. For those of you who aren’t members HOWL is the magazine of the Hunt Saboteurs Association. It’s a pretty good read with all the updates from the various groups around the country and some informative pieces regarding sabbing, the law and the history of the movement. If you aren’t a member I really encourage you to join. You don’t have to be active in the field but it is one way of getting involved and your money goes directly towards saving lives. All you need to know is right here.

Back to the preview.

The subject of the article is Phillip Davies. It’s a name many people wouldn’t have heard of. While most will know of dim Tim Bonner from the Countryside Alliance and his buffoonery and nonsensical ramblings on social media Phillip Davies is described in the article as “someone who prefers to operate in the shadows”. He is the Countryside Alliance’s police liaison officer. It should come as no surprise then that Davies was himself a police officer before retiring and taking up his position with the CA.

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Shadow Man Phillip Davies

The article goes into great detail on how this man has influenced police policy and decision making with regards to those who stand against the illegal hunting community and painting the CA as the voice of the countryside when the facts are indeed nothing of the sort. The CA’s main purpose for existing is the promotion of blood sports, the repeal of the hunting ban and the criminalisation of those who oppose them. The real issues of the countryside are completely ignored.

It goes on to highlight the other aspects of this mans work, the intelligence gathering and files of known sabs and investigators from LACS and the reason sabs are constantly having their photos taken week in, week out. It’s an obsession with those on the pro hunt side to the point of ridiculousness (and sometimes their own down fall).

Those who are regular readers of this blog with know the amount of hard work I’ve put in with the police to get their attitudes towards hunting changed. Phillip Davies is the man I’m up against and the reason why so many forces are pro hunt in the first place. It’s actually fairly unsettling to read and further highlights what a truly insidious organisation the CA really are. The article includes quotes from Kevin Blowe of Netpol (Network for Police Monitoring) who concludes:

“Mr Davies’ efforts at the conference to portray anti-hunt groups as violent criminals seemed like a rather crude attempt by the Countryside Alliance to try to co-opt local police forces as its own private security.”

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The real face of the CA

It’s a piece which pulls no punches and gets to the heart of the matter with regards to policing and why sabs and monitors are constantly fighting an uphill battle against what should be public servants acting to uphold the law and not be influenced to the point of obvious bias by those with a sinister agenda. It looks at those in power at the CA and perfectly highlights why we should be questioning what’s going on behind closed doors and need for transparency within the police force and from those who are advising them on matters of hunting with hounds.

A few freedom of information requests submitted to various forces throughout the country may shed some further light on the matter and indeed this may be the purpose of the article. Before you take on an opponent you have to know who they are and what they are about. Bringing the shadow man into the light might make things a little more uncomfortable for him and with such huge public support for the ban on Hunting with Hounds the police will be put in an uncomfortable position and maybe forced to changed their ways.

UPDATE: I have been given permission to publish the full article which can be found by clicking HERE.