Plea for Warwickshire Hunt's protocol with the police to be made public

A legal police order was recently dropped
Still from video footage in November 2022, showing the dogs running across the A422 near StratfordStill from video footage in November 2022, showing the dogs running across the A422 near Stratford
Still from video footage in November 2022, showing the dogs running across the A422 near Stratford

An appeal to make public the protocol to manage road safety concerns relating to Warwickshire Hunt fell on deaf ears despite concerns over transparency.

Warwickshire Police issued Warwickshire Hunt with a community protection notice (CPN), ordering that officers should be provided with a calendar of all events and locations and timings of any road crossings a week before meets.

This was due to be appealed by Warwickshire Hunt but a protocol to address road safety matters, which has not been published, was agreed prior to that being heard. It meant the CPN was dropped.

The matter was raised with the Warwickshire Police & Crime Panel – a body of councillors and independent members that scrutinises the work of Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Philip Seccombe – this week.

Dr Denise Taylor, a wildlife conservationist, said the withdrawal of the PCN “has raised serious questions and has not been transparently explained to the public” and queried the “secret”protocol.

“This protocol remains confidential, fuelling community distrust and suspicion of improper conduct among senior police officers. Furthermore, the secret protocol, unlike the CPN, is unenforceable in law,” she said.

“Will the secret protocol be made public for the sake of community trust and safety and when will this happen?

“What actionable and enforceable steps will Warwickshire Police take to ensure Warwickshire Hunt abides by road safety regulations and community protection guidelines?

“These questions strike at the heart of community trust and confidence in our policing systems. They demand transparent, honest answers for the safety of all Warwickshire residents.”

Mr Seccombe explained this elected role is “distinct from Warwickshire Police”, meaning he is “unable to be involved in operational policing matters” and that the protocol remains exempt from publication under section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act “which relates to court records”.

“The force has confirmed it will respond to calls of service to deal with incidents that arise,” he said.

“Given that this is a civil matter and Warwickshire Hunt has accepted and understood community concerns over road safety, they are keen to work with all parties to manage this going forward.”