Police notice against Warwickshire Hunt dropped at the eleventh hour
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A police notice that required the Warwickshire Hunt to supply information about their meets has been dropped at the 11th hour.
The Warwickshire Hunt was handed a community protection notice (CPN) in December 2022 after concerns about their hounds running on the road.
The CPN ordered them to provide officers with a calendar of all their events and a map giving locations and timings of any road crossings a week before their meets.
Failure to comply with a CPN can result in fines of up to £20,000.
The hunt was due to appeal the order in court this week, but it was abandoned after they agreed a protocol with the force, which dropped the CPN.
Polly Portwin, hunting director of the Countryside Alliance, said: “This case highlights wider concerns about the policing of hunts and other rural activities.
“It is the role of the police to properly implement legislation on the basis of evidence, not to respond to online animal rights campaigns.
“Not only does this create difficulties for people involved in perfectly legitimate activities, but it also wastes scarce resources that should be used to tackle real rural crime.”
Sam Butler, the chairman of The Warwickshire Hunt said that they are “pleased this matter has been resolved”.
“We have always cooperated with the police and were surprised by the use of a community protection notice,” Mr Butler said.
“The protocol that is now in place between the hunt and the police details a sensible working arrangement and the hunt looks forward to working with Warwickshire police in the coming season.”
Warwickshire Rural Crime Team said the notice was given in 2022 after the Warwickshire Hunt continued to cause problems on the roads.
Last year, we published a story where drivers were forced to swerve and brake as the Warwickshire Hunt hounds ran loose across the A422 near Stratford, which is a 50mph road.
The incident happened on November 23 and was filmed by West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS). Following the incident, the Warwickshire Hunt did issue an apology.
Reacting to the dropping of the CPN a spokesperson for WMHS said: "Over a five month period there were at least 23 recorded incidents of hunt havoc on Warickshire roads.
"They (the police) have gone from imposing legally agreed conditions under the CPN to a "protocol" which is nothing more than an informal gentleman's agreement which the Warwickshire Hunt are under no legal obligation to follow.
"How can the general public now have any confidence in Warwickshire Police when it comes to hunting issues?"
Speaking to The Telegraph, a spokesperson for Warwickshire Police said: “ We met with the hunt last week to discuss a protocol they had proposed. The force was satisfied this protocol, if adhered to, would meet the goals of the CPN and that there was therefore no requirement for the CPN.
“We also felt that withdrawing the CPN in light of the agreed protocol would help us to build a better relationship with the hunt and avoid unnecessary expenditure of public money by going to court.
“We look forward to working with the hunt to ensure the protocol is implemented and they can go about their lawful activity while ensuring the safety of road users.”