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Statement regarding policing of hunting

March 27, 2024

Following the decision of Warwickshire Police to withdraw its protocol with the Warwickshire Hunt, and its future plans to put in place a public code of behaviour for anyone conducting trail hunting in the county, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe has issued the following statement:

“The decisions to both issue and then withdraw the Community Protection Notice (CPN) to the Warwickshire Hunt, and the subsequent drafting and agreement of a protocol were operational policing matters concerning road safety. I was not part of the decision-making process and was only informed by the force about each of these actions once they had taken place.

“More recently, the force has withdrawn the protocol with Warwickshire Hunt and, ahead of the next hunting season, will seek to put in place a public code of behaviour. This will set out in a transparent way the expectations for anyone taking part in trail hunting activities in the county. I am supportive of this approach.

“While the actions taken by the force in recent months have focused on the safety of all road users, much of the commentary has revolved around public concern about alleged breaches of hunting legislation. I understand these concerns.

“A key part of my role as Police and Crime Commissioner is to represent the views of local people on policing and community safety matters, ensuring that these are shared back into policing. In fulfilling this role, I have ensured that the force is aware of the wide range of opinions that have been put to me by communities in Warwickshire over the past few months.

“I have also made my position clear that it is my expectation that the police should take all reports of potential breaches of the law seriously. Where there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution, cases should be put before the courts.

“I think the public can take reassurance that this is the reality from the decision this week by the Crown Prosecution Service to authorise charges in relation to an alleged breach of hunting legislation, which was reported to the force last October and investigated by the Rural Crime Team. It demonstrates that Warwickshire Police does take all such reports seriously and investigates in a fair and impartial way.

“Nevertheless, I believe there are lessons to be learned by the force for the future, particularly in how it has explained its actions to the public. Should I be re-elected in May, it is my intention to commission an independent report to look at the issuing of the protocol and make recommendations to the force on how it can move forward to fully restore public confidence.”