Notifiable Associations, The Code of Ethics and Police Regulations

Currently waiting for a response from Dorset Police, they should respond promptly and normally no later than (details).

Dorset Police

I am in possession of an official police document which states:

The Code of Ethics and Police Regulations
16. The code of ethics relates to officers being associated to groups or activities.
17. 6.3 of the codes states “Memberships of groups or societies, or associations
with groups or individuals, must not create an actual or apparent conflict of
interest with police work and responsibilities”.
18. 6.4 states “The test is whether a reasonably informed member of the public
might reasonably believe that your membership or association could
adversely affect your ability to discharge your policing duties effectively and
19. The College of Policing Integrity and Ethics Team have stated that the topic
has never come up before and that 6.4 above should be considered. They
have not provided any additional guidance.
20. Police regulations do not offer any guidance in relation to this matter. The
Anti-Corruption Unit has considered whether officers should tell the
organisation that they hunt in relation to notifiable associations within Police
Regulations. They have said that it would be inappropriate to proactively ask
members of staff about their associations with hunts on the basis that it’s a
lawful activity.
21. As a comparator, membership of the Freemasons has long been a
contentious issue, there is not currently however legal basis upon which to
require police officers or staff to declare Freemasonry membership. This is
the case for Hunting both locally and nationally.

To paraphrase from the above - as a reasonably informed member of the public, I reasonably (based upon direct personal experience over considerable time) believe that serving officers with membership of or association with foxhunts or foxhunting voluntarily place themselves in situations where such membership or association adversely affects their ability to discharge their policing duties effectively and impartially.

Most particularly and obviously so when such officers are attached to rural crime teams; I am given to understand that rural crime work is taken on voluntarily and in addition to an officer’s core duties.

Laudable though this is, it raises the ethical question of an officer or officers with hunt membership or association being tasked to investigate allegations of lawbreaking by a hunt and hunt members with whom the officer(s) has or have contact outside of official police duties. I regard this in its mildest form as a demonstrable conflict of interest and at worst as raising reasonable doubts as to that officer(s) impartiality; a matter which could be open to misinterpretation by hunt members and supporters as well as those opposed to hunting in any form, legal or otherwise.

1. Please advise what steps have been taken within your force to ensure that a Code of Ethics exists which makes provision for conflicts of interest in matters where allegations of illegal hunting or cub hunting have been made.

2. Please advise if officers seeking to work on rural crime teams should be requested to voluntarily declare any membership of or association with hunts, regardless of hunting within the parameters of the Hunting Act 2004 being legal; such declarations being seen as goodwill and in the spirit of keeping your force from disrepute in the public mind.

S Rhosier

.Freedom of Information, Dorset Police

Thank you for your email submitted to the Freedom of Information (FOI)
Team for Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police.


If your email relates to a new FOI request please accept this
auto-response as a formal acknowledgement.


Should we need to clarify any aspect of your request we will contact you
regarding this but please be aware that the 20 working day deadline will
not begin until the clarification has been received.


If your email relates to an ongoing request we will respond to your email
as soon as possible.


Please note that we are experiencing high volumes of requests and staff
shortages which, in some cases, is impacting on our ability to comply with
the 20 working day statutory deadline. Please be assured that we are
working on all current and outstanding requests and will get a response to
you as soon as possible. Please bear in mind that when we receive
enquiries regarding late requests, responding to these enquiries can cause
further delay and can hinder the Team from restoring compliance with the
statutory timeframe.  


Thank you in advance for your patience whilst we work through this
challenging period.

show quoted sections

E-mail should not be regarded as a secure means of communication, we take
all reasonable steps to ensure that e-mails are protected from malware,
but cannot accept liability for any loss or damage, howsoever arising, as
a result of their transmission to the recipients' computer or network.
For more information, or to contact us, please visit us at
[1] or [2] or e-mail
[3][email address] or [4][email address]


Visible links
3. mailto:[email address]
4. mailto:[email address]