Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner

With reference to: https://bit.ly/2oOSxtF

I see no reference in the report to occurrences of illegal foxhunting in breach of the Hunting Act.

There is a common misuse of English which describes the Hunting Act as a 'ban' instead of a piece of enacted legislation in England and Wales. This, in my opinion, minimises the gravity of the law and is disrespectful.

I therefore become concerned when breaches of the HA pass unmentioned yet Operation Galileo, which should address ALL forms of illegal hunting but is only used to address hare coursing, is given a segment in the report.

Police and other reports clearly indicate that foxes are still regularly hunted to death by various means despite the law. You must surely be aware of this.

There is also the matter of the fluid used by hunts when trail hunting but APHA import records show that trail fluid is not being imported and hunts decline to clarify what fluid (if any) they actually use.

As a result of what seems to be a dead end that includes determined silence from hunts on the subject, I believe that insufficient attention is given to hunt activity to ensure they obey the law and do not 'accidentally' kill foxes or go cubbing before most people are awake.

Why was foxhunting as a subject omitted from the report?

Is illegal foxhunting not regarded as significant as hare coursing when addressing rural crime? The same groups/types of individuals tend to engage in both activities and grow bolder when police fail to address the crimes.

This diminishes public morale and trust in the police to act equably and promptly when hunting crimes are reported.

S Rhosier

Lincolnshire-PCC, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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Lincolnshire-PCC, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Ms Rhosier

Thank you for taking the time to contact me, it really is appreciated.

Naturally my Annual Report cannot include every specific aspect of rural crime, of which there are many, however I seek to address the key points across a range of topics.

Lincolnshire has historically experienced the largest number of hare coursing incidents of anywhere in the country and the wider criminality surrounding it places our communities at risk of a range of harms. As an activity it attracts people from across the country, links to organised crime and wider criminal acts that put our communities at risk. Two years ago Lincolnshire recorded close to 2,000 hare coursing incidents and, I am informed two reports for fox hunting. This is not to say that those few incidents received should not be investigated; of course the role of the police is to investigate all crimes without fear or favour and I fully support that, but there has to be an acceptance of the different scale of the issue.

I have been a strong advocate of Lincolnshire Police investing the right tools to tackle all forms of wildlife and rural crime and they have come a long way in three years. There is always more to do but key to that is receiving information from the public to enable them to take action. I would urge you to report any specific incidents relating to all crime and wildlife crime especially, so that we can all work together to keep our communities and environment safe.

In part your correspondence does cross into asking about operational matters which the Force would need to respond to. If you would like a formal response from them please let me know and I will forward your message for a reply.

Thank you once again for getting in touch and raising your very legitimate concern.

Yours sincerely
 
 
Marc Jones
Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
 
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
Deepdale Lane, Nettleham, Lincolnshire LN2 2LT
Tel: 01522 947192
www.lincolnshire-pcc.gov.uk

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Lincolnshire-PCC

Thank you for your response.

I am now aware since first contacting you that the Hunting Act is not categorised under Home Office Counting Rules:

'Although there are defined Home Office codes for recording instances of Lamping, Hare
Coursing and so on, no codes currently exist under which it is possible to record specific
instances of either Cubbing or Trail Hunting.'

Thus, no police force can currently record instances of cubbing, or trail hunting where the hounds pick up the scent of a wild mammal and the hunt turns into a foxhunt which leads to a kill.

In your position as PCC, are you able to ascertain why the Hunting Act and relevant codes are not included in recording instructions for use by a police force? I have found by posing my FOI enquiries that police, due to this omission, are not easily able to comply with requests such as mine and for practical reasons it should be made simpler for them to do so.

S Rhosier

Lincolnshire-PCC, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Dear Ms Rhosier

With regard to your query relating to why the Hunting Act and relevant codes are not included in recording instructions for use by police forces, I have passed this to the Force Executive office in the hope that they might be able to furnish you with a response and trust they will reply to you directly in due course, however I cannot promise they will have the answer you are seeking.

Yours sincerely
 
 
Marc Jones
Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
 
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire
Deepdale Lane, Nettleham, Lincolnshire LN2 2LT
Tel: 01522 947192
www.lincolnshire-pcc.gov.uk

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Vickers, Phil, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner

Good afternoon

Calls to Lincolnshire Police regarding reports of activity believed to be against the Hunting Act result in an Incident Record being created - a log on the force Command and Control system.

Offences under Section 5 of the Hunting Act 2004 are not notifiable offences - This is a Rule set by the Home Office on the basis that the penalty for such offences is Summary Only (dealt with at Magistrates Court) and fine to level 5. However this only means that we do not hold a 'Crime record' as such - If any person were arrested, there would be a record of the arrest and of any resulting Charge.

In seeking to understand the volume of reports made to Police of acts believed to be against the Hunting Act (and any other low-level, Summary Only, non-recordable offence, not only against the Hunting Act) I can see it is challenging.

From an operational perspective, we are committed to investigating and where evidence exists, to bring to justice any person found to be breaking the law - We recognise that hunting is an emotive subject, bringing with it support, opposition and commentary from a wide spectrum of society and so we pursue with equal vigour those who engage in unlawful Hunting and those who engage in illegal activity to prevent Hunting.

I appreciate this may not assist you in your objective to make it easier for forces to reply consistently to your requests, I can only add that it is not for any underhand reason, simply that forces comply with the rules set by the Home Office (and are inspected on their compliance with those rules on a regular basis).

Thank you

Phil Vickers
C/Insp Phil Vickers
Lincolnshire Police

Policing with PRIDE
Professionalism Respect Integrity Dedication Empathy

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