Posts Tagged ‘Police Costs’

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.


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.

For those of you who get the regular updates you’ll be aware of the operations undertaken over the last few weeks involving the targeting of illegal Mink hunts across the country which, I’m glad to say, we successfully disrupted. The last operation was particularly interesting mainly due to the excessive police involvement from the West Mercia force. This became of particular interest, as a law abiding tax payer I like to know how my hard earned cash is being spent so a Freedom of Information Request to the West Mercia Force asking for their policing costs for that single operation.

Today I got their response.

Total policing hours: 35

Cost: £661.59

Police helicopter: Airborne for 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Cost: £2770.50

Additional costs would have been incurred in the control room but as they were dealing with multiple incidents they cannot specify costs.

I would imagine there would also have been additional costs in terms of fuel for the police vehicles, we counted 10 separate vehicles at different times during the operation and allowing for various other costs not specified I think it would be safe to say the overall costs would have been in excess of £3500.

West Mercia Police – Spending your cash

I don’t know about you but that seems like a lot of money. What makes these costs even more galling is that it was in support of an illegal activity. There’s no argument about the previous point, the hunt themselves even admitted on the phone to the police they were hunting, not exercising hounds, not going on a nice run in the countryside, not engaging in any other lawful activity.

They were hunting, with dogs, in contravention of the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004.

Of course it’s difficult to deny the activity when you have spades for digging out your quarry and terriers to send down holes but the stupidity of openly admitting your guilt beggar’s belief. Unless of course you know you’re not going to get prosecuted. Not only not get prosecuted but have the police spend thousands of pounds acting as personal security.

If that doesn’t sound wrong then you’re either an immoral hunter or just not comprehending the issue.

I’m not sure what’s worse here, the fact that illegal hunting continues with an annoying level of impunity or the fact their protection is being paid for by a largely unsuspecting general public. Most people I talk to honestly believe that this type of hunting is a thing of the past since the act came into force and they’re astonished when they find out it still goes on. Figures released in the last few days show prosecutions under the act are at their highest level since coming into force (110 individuals in 2013) with the numbers showing a distinct upward trend but this is largely down to the various dedicated groups obtaining the required evidence to gain these prosecutions and little to do with effective policing. The Act is far from perfect but it’s what we have to work with until it can be improved.

So if you’re feeling a bit peeved with the situation maybe give West Mercia Police a call and ask why they’re spending so much of your money protecting criminals and not enforcing a piece of legislation supported by over 80% of the population.

If you get a response let me know.