From Derbyshire Police’s Rural Crime Team’s Facebook Page:
Some of you may be aware that our colleague Derbyshire Constabulary Wildlife Officer recently posted on Facebook that we have met with members of organised Hunts who operate in the Derbyshire area and that we would like to meet with sab/monitor groups.
Sadly, and predictably this was met with a barrage of negative comments, some abuse and a lot of conjecture. The common theme of comments appears to be that all police are corrupt, we receive bribes/brown envelopes, there is a connection to the Masonic Lodge and that we turn a blind eye to any criminal acts committed by organised hunts.
It is no secret that the police force, as well as pretty much every other organisation or group, has people who do not uphold the standards expected and bring others into disrepute. To suggest however that all approx. 130,000 police officers are corrupt is bizarre, to narrow it down further and suggest all rural officers are corrupt is equally bizarre. Some current and some retired officers ride or partake in organised hunts, again this is no secret, we are not aware of any within Derbyshire but we do not know all 1800 officers, there may be some. None of the Rural Crime Team are or ever have been involved in an organised hunt, equally we have never been out sabbing. We have investigated hunts on numerous occasions, many of those investigations have resulted in no action being taken as there was not the evidence to support a crime had occurred, innocent until proven guilty. However, some of those investigations have resulted in charges and prosecutions, one of our recent investigations is due in court next month. At no point have we received any pressure “from the top” to cease investigations or been instructed to take a different course or path, rest assured if this happened we would not hesitate in blowing the whistle on it. Honesty and integrity are vital and we value it above all else when going about our work.
The “evidence” that is plastered all over social media on a weekly basis in almost every case falls short. There are numerous reasons for this but mostly due to the fact it is heavily edited and does not come with a statement of fact. A vital part of any investigation is the integrity of evidence, if that evidence has been tampered with i.e. edited without reason and without a supporting statement its accuracy cannot be relied upon. Without direct evidence of simple things such as Day, Date, Time and Location investigations will always fail, again this is simple to achieve via a proper statement of evidence. Why is it that when these simple things are requested the request are either met with silence or a refusal and we are then told by the very groups that are in the position to provide all this that “we never uphold the law”. It truly baffles and frustrates us. We cannot think of any other group that professes to have so much evidence of illegal activity but refuses to engage or pass it to us. It would appear that it is not the police deliberately frustrating investigations.
Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs and for the purposes of this Act a reference to a person hunting a wild mammal with a dog includes, in particular, any case where –
(a) a person engages or participates in the pursuit of a wild mammal, and
(b) one or more dogs are employed in that pursuit (whether or not by him and whether or not under his control or direction).
The Act, all thought badly written, is fairly clear on what is illegal as stated above, it does not refer to hounds being on roads, the make up of any trail laid, or indeed the nature of any artificial trail. Whether a trail is laid or not matters not in the eyes of the law, what matters is whether it can be proved that one or more dogs is pursuing a wild mammal. Due to the Act being so direct it is therefore difficult to deal with.
Many things that occur on a days hunting may indicate and point to certain things but without the evidence of dog chasing a wild mammal the investigation will stall if it ever takes off at all.
Those most vocal about issues surrounding hunting call for change and yet when we offer to meet and discuss all the issues we are again met with silence or shouts of corruption.
If individuals can achieve success such as the Good Friday Agreement, if nations such as North and South Korea can meet peacefully and hold meaningful talks then surely the Police and Saboteurs/Monitors can meet and have productive talks.
This is a genuine request and one that we believe could be mutually beneficial. If anyone one from the saboteur community is willing to meet with us please get in touch, this is an open invitation. You can do this via Facebook, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org Again, anonymity will be respected, the time, date and venue can be your choice or we can arrange a venue, we are flexible.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.