Posts Tagged ‘Police Helicopter’

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.

Dower House

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.”

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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.

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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.