Posts Tagged ‘Section 35’

So I’ve been a bit lazy in the current updates department recently, this was largely due to wanting to see how things were panning out before I started to draw any conclusions and I also got a case of the dreaded lurgy so haven’t been out in the field but I should be fighting fit once again fairly soon.

When I read through the updates on a Saturday evening from the sab groups all over the UK there is always a common theme and it got me thinking as to why this is allowed to go on. It’s the typical antics from the hunt supporters and their employees – blocking roads, abuse, threatening behaviour, criminal damage and even violence. They are not isolated incidents and happen every week, without fail.

blocking

Attempting to block the road

So lets just change things round for a moment and consider the police response.

If a group of people wished to observe something from a public highway then you would expect them not to act in a way which could be dangerous to other road users or impede those going about their lawful business. Why should the law be different in the countryside from that of the town centres? If this group were being openly aggressive, hurling abuse and actively blocking the road to others then why aren’t the police moving them on or making arrests, there is certainly the legislation in place for them to do so? Imagine a town centre and a group of rowdy individuals gobbing off and looking for trouble, in no time at all there’d be a significant police response. Football clubs have to pay towards the policing of their matches, perhaps hunts should do the same and then maybe they might be inclined to suggest their supporters behave themselves, they do, after all, pay to watch (amazing isn’t it, paying to watch something from a public highway) just like a football supporter.

Then you have these so called “Stewards”. They have no official credibility. Wearing an armband and waving meaningless bits of paper about doesn’t give them special powers whether they have been officially requested by the hunt or not. They have no more power than anyone else. They have to have express written authority from the landowner to even just act on their behalf and that doesn’t include blocking rights of way and assaulting people. Minimum force means virtually no force at all in a trespass situation and as nearly all hunts are hunting illegally any citizen can access that land to stop a criminal act taking place.

charming

These people are always so welcoming

So this begs the question why do the police respond in the way they do?

Now the police forces around the country vary hugely. I believe we’re making good progress on my home patch of Bedfordshire although there’s still significant work to be done but elsewhere it seems the police show little inclination or desire to truly understand what they are dealing with and this is where I believe the problem lies.

Whenever you speak to an officer they will, very early in the conversation say something along the lines of “I’m not allowed an opinion on Hunting, I have to remain impartial”. And this is the root of the problem. The very definition of a police officers is a person who is there to uphold the law and bring to justice those who defy it. They would appear to be overly concerned that applying very basic laws to the hunting side regarding the behaviour of their support and followers would be construed as being biased in favour of those who oppose hunting and so let them act in a way which simply wouldn’t be tolerated in any other situation. Perhaps they’ve had instructions from further up the chain of command? Perhaps they simply aren’t able to properly assess and deal with the situation or maybe there is some sort of institutionalised prejudice against sabs and monitors?

Remember, we’re not talking about the prosecution of the hunt here. Someone once told me that you have to think of the police as a business and their product is prosecutions. Now we know getting a prosecution for illegal hunting is very hard indeed and this I believe, is why the police show little interest, there’s a lot of effort involved with little chance of success however prosecuting those involved with threatening and violent behaviour should be relatively straightforward. There is literally hours and hours of footage every week showing criminal behaviour and this brings me once again to the use of the Section 35 Dispersal Order. Full details of this can be found here (Section 35) but the important part to note reads thus:

Two conditions need to be met for a direction to be given:

the officer must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person in the locality has contributed or is likely to contribute to –

(a) members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or

(b) the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder.

The officer considers that giving a direction to the person is necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder.

Now as far as I’m concerned pretty much all those criteria are fulfilled when considering the Stewards or supporters. Remove these people from the equation and what you’re left with is those who can behave themselves and those who will monitor a hunt until they believe they are hunting illegally in which case they are fully entitles to intervene.

Removing the violent element would also make policing of these incidents a whole lot easier. Less resources would need to be deployed and costs kept to a minimum. As far as I can see it’s an absolute no-brainer. So I think it really is about time the police had a crack down on this. It’s about being unbiased, it’s about applying the law, to a group of people who think they are above it and can act in a manner which not only contravenes the law but also common decency.

oakley-a508

Fairly certain this would be considered a danger to other road users

I’ve seen some pretty one sided policing. I’ve seen some pretty decent policing as well but when you’re on the Estate of David Cameron’s cousin it’s a sure thing you’ll get no sympathy from the boys in blue who were no doubt under instructions from above. What’s even more concerning is a new tactic they’re employing which seems to have been organised well in advance with the hunts to avoid any interruption from saboteurs and thus allowing them to hunt with impunity. This turn of events has the stink of the Countryside Alliance all over it.

I’m referring to the use of the Section 35 dispersal order. This effectively means anyone to whom the order is applied have to leave a designated area for 24 hours or face arrest. It’s part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 details of which can be found here. Of course this legislation was never designed to be an umbrella for removing saboteurs or monitors from hunts but that’s how it’s being applied and it’s totally unjust, whether it’s actually legal or not remains to be seen and we’re taking advice on the matter. Now it would seem all the hunts have to do is make up a spurious trail map, hand it over to the police and they’ll do the rest. Of course the police aren’t interested or bright enough to figure out that following a trail would never require the services of terrier men on a quad with spades and yet they’re still present, ready to do their dirty work all under that nice, safe police protection.

Sargeant 1964

Sargeant 1964

Last weekend we were subjected to continuous drunken abuse while I and others were physically assaulted and you’ll see all of this in the video. Warwickshire Police have hardly covered themselves in glory and there’s been a significant backlash from the general public on their Facebook page. If you think this type of policing is wrong feel free to voice your opinion and let them know that you don’t approve of a significant amount of your taxes being spent in this way. The Hunt in question, the Atherstone have been seen actively hunting foxes in the last few weeks with some pretty damming footage being supplied by West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs which can be viewed here. The hunt support continue to show themselves for what they really are, violent morons that are desperate to maintain their bloodthirsty way of life.