Dear Mr Campion,
As PCC for West Mercia I am appealing to you to look into allegations of pro-hunt bias in the West Mercia police force.
I understand that 'PCCs have been elected by the public to hold Chief Constables and the force to account, effectively making the police answerable to the communities they serve.' There has been considerable speculation on social media that when it comes to illegal hunting, the West Mercia police show bias in favour of hunting with allegations of a pro hunt culture and possible links to freemasonry- a link highlighted in the Operation Tiberius report from 2002 which made for worrying reading.
Furthermore, video evidence from anti hunting protestors suggests bias in police attitudes and I note a freedom of information refusal notice on the West Mercia police website which states an 'excess of 880 records returned' linked to hunting. This information is therefore not available publicly, doing little to allay concerns.
I note that one of your key election pledges was to 'work towards...a more reassured West Mercia'. I am certainly not reassured by anything I have heard, and the slow progress of charging suspects in the case of the live fox cubs thrown into a kennel full of hounds is absolutely outrageous. That video caused outrage when it was featured in the national press-not only is such an act illegal, it is a shocking example of hunt deceit whereby the claim that hunting is any form of 'pest control' is revealed to be a lie.
I don't know how familiar you are with other instances of hunt crime but there have been numerous cases of captive animals found on hunt property as a ready supply to chase. The leaked email by Simon Hart of the countryside alliance warning of a nationwide shortage of foxes and an urging of landowners to breed more (with the line that any public knowledge of such facts would ruin the reputation of hunting by making it 'a laughing stock' as it clearly counters the argument of 'pest control') was telling.
My concern is that any bias in the West Mercia police encourages hunts such as the South Hereford to feel that they are at liberty to flout the law and can be reassured that the police will turn a blind eye. This would, surely, be an outrageous situation. Whatever views one may hold on the issue of hunting morally, the police have a duty to be impartial and to prosecute fairly any instances of law breaking-which the cub case clearly is.
I do hope that you will look into this matter and, as per your election promise, reassure the many of us concerned about a culture of bias towards this issue that it has been addressed and eradicated in West Mercia. I suspect that you will be shocked at the outrage that will erupt if the South Hereford hunt case runs out of time before reaching court. Despite its release on the day of the EU referendum, the case was featured in almost all the national papers as well as the BBC-the public overwhelmingly oppose hunting according to the most recent polls and the Hereford case was particularly outrageous.
I will be forwarding a copy of this email to the IPCC as I am very concerned that this matter is not being taken seriously. I have as yet still had no response from the West Mercia police and little I have seen has raised any hopes that this is all above board.
I do hope that you will do your best to communicate my concerns to the police and I look forward to your response-and a swift charging of those responsible.
Background - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36598935
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