Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner apologises for leaving 'laughing emoji' on anti-hunting Facebook post
Philip Seccombe said it was an 'accident' and he has now withdrawn it - but the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs (WMHS) said the action is alarming, considering recent events.
Warwickshire Police issued Warwickshire Hunt with a community protection notice (CPN) earlier this year, ordering that officers should be provided with a calendar of all events and locations and timings of any road crossings a week before meets.
But just as the CPN was due to be appealed by Warwickshire Hunt, it was dropped after a protocol was agreed with Warwickshire Police, details of which was controversially withheld from the public.
The WMHS claim that Mr Seccombe's membership of the Countryside Alliance is a conflict of interest and that he is not holding Warwickshire Police to account.
But Mr Seccombe said he had no involvement in the decision to drop the CPN and that it was a private agreement between the hunt and the police. He confirmed that he is a member of the Countryside Alliance but didn’t think that there was any conflict of interest.
In the latest incident, Mr Seccombe put a 'laughing emoji' on a Facebook post by WMHS, where members were asking for donations so they can continue monitoring Warwickshire Hunt.
"We’re sure he won't be laughing if as many of you as possible donate to help keep us going," said WMHS.
And after he was challenged about it, Mr Seccombe responded with a post on his own Facebook page, claiming it was an accident.
He added: "I will be the first to admit I am not the most adept at using Facebook and, while I can't be sure what exactly happened, I presume I must have long-clicked the like button when looking at the earlier post.
"I was not aware I had done this but once alerted by other people, I removed the 'laughing' reaction as it doesn't represent my views.
"I apologise for making this error and for any offence I inadvertengly caused."