Posts Tagged ‘West Mercia Police’

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.

As a general rule the hunting season starts in the autumn when the hunts train their hounds to kill in the grim and largely undercover “cubbing” season and ends at the start of spring. This means sabs can expect to get cold, wet and muddy most of the time they’re in the field so a bit of action in the summer months should at least be a bit easier in terms of climate. But of course this is England and where the weather is concerned nothing can be taken for granted. Still we’re generally a hardy bunch and dressed for purposed so a bit of rain wasn’t likely to affect the outcome when we paid a visit to the Teme Valley Min Hounds.

West Mercia Police - Money to burn!

West Mercia Police – Money to burn!

This pack have only been in existence since 2007 and have never been targeted before so no doubt it all came as a bit of a shock to them and an experience they’re unlikely to forget. The meet was at the Bridge Pub in Stanford Bridge, Worcestershire (drop them a line, perhaps they can explain why they promote illegal hunting) and upon our arrival we immediately decamped and went after the hunt on foot who were in the adjacent fields. A chase across a few muddy fields and we were soon in amongst them, the followers, complete with spades and terriers decided to make themselves scarce. The hounds seem so friendly and always love the attention and affection they receive from the sabs. They clearly get none for the rest of the time and its nonsense that they wouldn’t make fine pets given the right situation. Unfortunately most will only live a fraction of their lives. They’ll be shot once they’re unable to keep up and fed to the rest of the pack. This can be as soon as they’re just 6 years old and those that show no aptitude for hunting don’t even make it that far.

We even had a bear in the air.

We even had a bear in the air.

With the hunt now is full retreat they were boxed up but not before a sab had been threatened with a knife. The video below shows the incident. West Mercia Police, an organisation I’ve had the misfortune to deal with on several occasions previously during the badger cull once again showed their bias by providing an escort for the hound vehicle and bringing the town centre to a complete standstill while they checked all the relevant details. They clearly have money to spare as there were in total 10 police vehicles in attendance along with the helicopter overhead for a significant amount of time. I think it’s always nice to know where your hard earned taxes are being spent. Considering the hunt even told the police on the telephone they were illegally hunting (well they admitted to hunting mink with hounds contrary to the Hunting with Dogs Act 2004) you’d think our boys (and girls) in blue could have worked out for themselves what needed to be done. Still in the end the sun came out, we won the day and it might just give the hunt second thoughts about going out again because, and just in case anyone connected with the hunt is reading this, you’re likely to get another visit soon. It was another great co-operation between various sab groups and it was good to catch up with old friends from Three Counties Hunt Sabs who I’d worked with extensively during the cull and who gave me my baptism of fire when I tagged along with them to spoil the Ledbury Hunt’s day back in January.

Finally we’d like to apologise to Charles & Kirsty who were getting married in Tedstone Delamere and had some disruption to their day. It wasn’t us who closed the road, that was down to West Mercia Police but you looked good in your period open topped car. Hope you had a good day.

We’re almost there! A few more bob and we’ll have our own vehicle. To donate click here.