Friday 30 October 2009

Policing foxhunting

If ever there was proof that the Hunting Act is an ass, it's the ludicrous ACPO Investigators Manual. LACS have "welcomed" the impenetrable 67-page document, which for some reason doesn't appear on ACPO's own website but is available from the LACS here.

If I was LACS I wouldn't welcome it, I'd be hopping mad. Reading between the lines, the document seems to be telling police they have more important things to do, but they'd better feign interest in order to:
  • positively promote our impartiality
  • provide reassurance that we will police without prejudice
  • provide reassurance that we support and respect the right to both legitimate protest and to hunt lawfully
Far from untangling the legal minefield, the document adds layer upon layer of complication which should put off any police officer thinking of getting involved.

My favourite bit is the 'Risk Assessment' at the end of the document: "Officers to be made aware that horses may bite and kick...". Dealing with animal carcasses: "Gloves to be worn. Clothing to be treated as contaminated waste. Officers wash hands change clothing as soon as practicable."

I note that the antis' new tactics involve asking people in the street whether foxhunting should remain banned, and then trying to frighten politicians with the results. I think I shall have a poll to ask Joe Public: "What will influence the way you cast your vote at the next election?" If keeping the Hunting Act makes a tenth of one percent, I'll eat my hat.

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