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Policing badger cull in Gloucestershire this year will be "challenging" - PCC Martin Surl

By Michael_Yong  |  Posted: April 04, 2014

  • PCC Martin Surl

Comments (11)

Hundreds of people are set to take to the fields again after it was announced the badger cull in Gloucestershire will continue this summer.

Protesters against the badger cull have vowed to be out in force again, after Environment Secretary Owen Paterson told the House of Commons on Thursday the cull will be continued in the county and Somerset.

Gloucestershire Police officers have been training this year to deal with different situations after last year’s cull. Dozens of officers worked on Operation Themis last year, the force’s reaction to the cull.

Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl believes this year’s cull will be a “challenging” time for his officers.

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He said: “We knew the proposal was for a pilot badger cull over four years, so this announcement comes as no great surprise.

“However, to those who failed to get the message last time, it is worth repeating that the police are not responsible for the cull itself, though it will fall to them to uphold the law.

“That means defending the right to free speech and protest while ensuring people are able to go about their lawful business.

“Once again, the top priority will be safeguarding the public at all times, and the responsibility dor achieve that on a day-to-day basis rests with the Chief Constable.

“We know from our experience last year the continuation of the trial will be a challenging time for the Constabulary. To see what lessons can be learned, I plan to question senior officers involved in the operation during a live web cast next month.”

It cost about £1.7million to police the cull in 2013, according to Mr Surl, and the bill is set to be reclaimed from the Government.

Last year’s cull was extended beyond its original six-week window, something Mr Surl said would had put a strain on police resources.

When asked by MPs on Thursday what he expected policing costs to be, Mr Paterson said: “That rather depends on what the protesters do.

“If the countryside were inhabited only by responsible country people, who are very concerned about TB, the policing costs would be very low.

“I totally respect democracy. We all have different views, and I totally respect people’s right to protest, but if we have an invasion of protesters who try to stop the democratic Government’s disease control policy by using measures that cross the border from legitimate democratic protest into active disruption, the policing costs will become significant.”

Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS) campaigners, who patrolled public footpaths during the last cull, have spent spent the last four months recruiting new members.

Spokesman Jeanne Berry said: “We learnt a great deal from last year, and we will be even more effective this time round.

“In particular we have been working with police and Natural England to make sure there is no repetition of firearms safety breaches, culling on land without the owner’s consent, footpath violations and the appalling level of intimidation and antisocial behaviour displayed by cull supporters.

“Public anger is rising at this inexcusable violation of our wildlife so there will be many more of us patrolling the new cull.

“We will be recording every contact with cullers and police, and we expect any breaches of the cull licence or public safety to be dealt with promptly and effectively from now on. No-one from GABS broke the law during last year’s cull so we expect the police and farming community to respect our lawful right to protest and to treat us accordingly.”

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  • mmjames  |  April 05 2014, 8:33PM

    EJANDODIN | April 05 2014, 4:36PM You are likely to need treatment if you interfere with zTB ridden badgers, and don't go thinking you can SEE whether they are infectious or not. Many folks will also be very pleased to know where you are being kept occupied.

    |   -24
  • EJANDODIN  |  April 05 2014, 4:36PM

    @mmjames : you need to get a grip on reality or the men in white coats will be coming for you. We stopped it being effective the last time and we will do so again, better prepared and better equipped.

    |   29
  • JeremyBadger  |  April 04 2014, 9:12PM

    They are not Martin Surl's Officers as you stated, He has absolutely NO jurisdiction of actual Police Officers, they are under the command of the Chief Constable, any decent newspaper reporter would know this.

    |   26
  • Roger_S  |  April 04 2014, 6:15PM

    It would be useful if police officers didn't release the personal details of activists opposed to the cull to cull supporters this time around. This was quite evident on many bloodsport forums and is very illegal. Perhaps this should be covered in their training?

    |   40
  • twigcat  |  April 04 2014, 5:41PM

    I wonder if Gloucestershire Constabulary are still dealing with a backlog of complaints against them for their heavy-handed mis-policing last year. It would be interesting to know how much has been spent on all the compensation payments for wrongful arrest.......... I suspect Mr Surl was hoping the Government would have seen sense and aborted these culls almost as much as the rest of us.

    |   41
  • agaga  |  April 04 2014, 4:57PM

    "If the countryside were inhabited only by responsible country people, who are very concerned about TB, the policing costs would be very low"..... I am a "responsible country person" and know that shooting badgers is not the answer to TB, what about killing other animals that carry TB?

    |   26
  • mmjames  |  April 04 2014, 4:31PM

    The Police Service need to uphold the law and the injunction that was granted last year otherwise why should the majority of us pay any of their bills! Legally employed cullers should be able to go ahead without any harassment. ARA's also need to understand [haha] that their actions make it MORE likely that badgers will suffer.

    |   -46
  • Clued-Up  |  April 04 2014, 3:35PM

    The Independent Expert Panel report has just confirmed what many in the Wounded Badger patrols reported - ie that the badger cull was horridly cruel, with nearly 23% animals taking longer than 5 minutes to die, some taking 15 minutes to die and badly shot animals escaping to die of infection or wounds hours and days later. The public aren't going to stand for a repeat of such cruelty. They have no faith in "badgers moved the goalposts" Paterson's promises that Round 2 will be less cruel. The police service needs to do what it can to stop the cullers coming back to cause havoc again in Gloucestershire.

    |   59
  • Clued-Up  |  April 04 2014, 3:25PM

    We are now in April 2014 and the PCC confirms DEFRA haven't yet paid their bill to Gloucestershire Constabulary for the policing of the cull during Autumn 2013. I hope the local police service obtained DEFRA's agreement they'll pay interest on the outstanding debt, otherwise the badger cull will have local citizens even more than they expected. The interest payments alone might have paid for an extra police officer to do work of REAL benefit to Gloucestershire ...

    |   44
  • debbiec678  |  April 04 2014, 2:27PM

    At one point Gloucestershire police detained people for the NFU. On antoehr occasion a 50year old protester was run over by a cull supporter car. Whilst she was receiving treatment the Police were seen laughing with the driver who ran her over. Police then threatened the victim that if she wanted to persue claim against the driver they would give her name and address to the person who had just run her over! Martin Surl needs to get a grip on his police force

    |   55