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Bill for policing badger cull in Gloucestershire to be paid by Whitehall

By laura_enfield  |  Posted: March 17, 2013

BADGER

BADGER

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THE full cost of policing the badger cull in Gloucestershire will be covered by Whitehall.

Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has been reassured by bosses the constabulary will not be left out of pocket.

The shooting of almost 5,000 badgers is expected to start in June and cost the force millions.

Police are said to be bracing themselves for a 'security nightmare' and to have told the Government private security companies will be needed to stop the culls being overrun by animal rights activists.

According to a report in The Times a source close to Gloucestershire Constabulary said: "We welcome this like a hole in the head".

Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS) is organising a peaceful protest walk at Highnam Woods on April 1.

Member Jeanne Berry said they would not be looking to cause trouble but police were right to be prepared.

"We will be peacefully protesting the culls this summer," she said.

"But there is a lot of interest in this issue and there will be people coming from outside Gloucestershire and there may be an element of rabble rousers so police are right to be a bit concerned.

"It's a very emotive subject."

Figures released by Defra in October show the police's bill for policing the cull in Gloucestershire and Somerset is estimated at £4 million over four years.

Mr Surl raised the issue  with criminal justice minister Damian Green when he visited Gloucester on Thursday.

The PCC said: "He assured me the constabulary would be fully reimbursed for the cost of the cull."

He was told a special grant will be made by the Government to cover the expense but said he had no estimate of what the bill may be.

"The cost depends entirely on events which are outside our control.

"I'm aware the heads of the constabulary are making provisions.

"I haven't enquired too deeply but the chief constable says they have it in hand and are in contact with protest groups and those who will execute the cull.

"My concern is not how they will police it as that is an operational matter but that they will do it in a fair manner without expressing a view on it.

"I will be making sure the public's right to protest is protected as well as the right to do the cull.

"It will put a strain on the constabulary but not one we are not used to."

Police are still waiting to hear if they will get back £64,000 spent preparing for the postponed culls.

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10 comments

  • GlosABS  |  March 18 2013, 5:04AM

    Firstly, our spokesperson at no time said "rabble rousers". This is an error on the reporters behalf. We are aware of people from outside Gloucestershire who intend coming to help disrupt the cull, and will ourselves endeavour to make sure it doesn't happen. We have heard of no planned illegality, and would defend the right of anyone to peacefully protest against this unscientific and, frankly abhorrent planned cull. We realise the police are already operating on a shoestring, and would question the practice of bringing in an officer from Devon and Cornwall, with no local knowledge to head up this police action. The police costs released already are dubious at best, but seem not to include the cost of a helicopter over Forthampton Estate, a protest that resulted directly as a result of this governments dogged determination to proceed with this unscientific and undemocratic cull. When the costs of policing are factored in. Surely this shows, vaccination is the way forward. Recently Theresa May lambasted judges for ignoring parliament's wishes, yet that is what the police will be upholding. Parliament has sent a clear message by voting against this cull, so any opposing it are upholding the rule of law in this land, those supporting it going directly against the democratic decision of parliament

    Rate   13
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  • badger123  |  March 18 2013, 12:11AM

    The badger cull should not be taking place.It wil never work.The policing /security of the areas is not viable.Night time,rifles,shooter trying to hit a moving target,activists equals a recipe for disaster.Local tax people will pay for it watch your council tax go up!!

    Rate   13
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  • newactivist  |  March 17 2013, 11:27PM

    This is an absolute disgrace. If the farmers think that we are going to pay for years of poor farming practices, with factory farming, herbicides, pesticides, hormones and every other nasty thing they can think of to put into our food and then expect us to pay when they think they have a handy scapegoat to blame, they can think again. As grannyonline says, 92% of the public is against it, Parliament is against it, 176,000 people have felt strongly enough to sign a petition against it and then we have to pay for it!? Let the NFU and farmers pay for it if they want to try and kill our badgers, 89% of which are disease free!

    Rate   18
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  • annaps  |  March 17 2013, 10:18PM

    This is ridiculous, no one wants the cull except a few farmers, so if they want the killing, then they should pay for it.

    Rate   24
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  • Clued-Up  |  March 17 2013, 10:09PM

    @GlosAnarchy If you do something the public, scientists, animal welfare organisations and even MPs very strongly oppose and consider likely to cause intense suffering, you can expect those same groups to do their able best to prevent you. Much of the anti-cull action will be entirely legal but will still incur high policing costs. It's reasonable for the anti-cull 92% to regard the cullers as being responsible for any breaches of the peace that do take place. That said, each case will be progressed through the courts on its merits. It seems likely that those found guilty of various forms of criminal behaviour will be on both sides of the argument but the most serious offences will be committed by the shooters hired to kill badgers.

    Rate   14
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  • Clued-Up  |  March 17 2013, 10:07PM

    @GlosAnarchy If you do something the public, scientists, animal welfare organisations and even MPs very strongly oppose and consider likely to cause intense suffering, you can expect those same groups to do their able best to prevent you. Much of the anti-cull action will be entirely legal but will still incur high policing costs. It's reasonable for the anti-cull 92% to regard the cullers as being responsible for any breaches of the peace that do take place. That said, each case will be progressed through the courts on its merits. It seems likely that those found guilty of various forms of criminal behaviour will be on both sides of the argument but the most serious offences will be committed by the shooters hired to kill badgers.

    Rate   13
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  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 17 2013, 9:26PM

    fischadler where is the 92% from? Clued-Up If there is likely to be a breach of the peace then the police have a duty to attend, that is the law. If the anti cull people are intent on committing aggravated trespass then the costs will be down to them and not the farmers, if people would allow the farmers to go about their lawful business without interruption this would not be an issue! FACT!

    Rate   -18
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  • grannyonline1  |  March 17 2013, 9:20PM

    When the so called "cure" is costing more than the disease, time to abadon the cure.If the cost of policing the culling is to be covered by taxpayers money, we should have a say in wether or not we want it.Oh Yes, thats right we did have a say, a petition with 176,000 sigs.growing every day, and a vote won in parliament against culling.Isnt it great living in a democracy!!

    Rate   25
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  • fischadler  |  March 17 2013, 8:13PM

    As a taxpayer I strongly object to my taxes being used to police a cull, which I oppose along with 92% of the population, in an area where I do not live. The costs of policing the cull should be met by the police force in the area where the cull takes place. Better still and save shedloads of money by cancelling the cull altogether.

    Rate   25
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  • Clued-Up  |  March 17 2013, 7:04PM

    Could the PCC do a lot more digging please to find out exactly WHO's going to pay WHICH parts of the total policing costs the badger cull will incur? The total cost is likely to be £millions more than anyone realises at this stage in proceedings. I suspect the PCC has been fobbed off with what the minister hopes will happen over the bill, not what he knows to be the case. Damian Green has apparently said tax-payers nationally will pay, rather than Gloucestershire council tax payers. Does he mean the policing costs bill will be sent to DEFRA? Have DEFRA actually agreed in writing to pick up the tab and not try to re-direct it back to his department or to the Gloucestershire Police Service? DEFRA are reported to have said they refuse to pay the policing bill for the badger cull, DEFRA expect landowners permitting the cull to pay for their own private security contractors. If the landowners are expected to pay the cull won't go ahead (they're not going to risk bankruptcy in a cause of so little advantage to them or anyone else). Cuts to NATIONAL police numbers mean that even by bussing in officers from other forces the police won't have enough officers available to meet their everyday responsibilities to the communities AND act as DEFRA's private security force. DEFRA's budget won't stand paying out for the policing costs of the badger cull. The Home Office budget is also over-stretched. The culling landowners will go bust if they have to meet the private security costs. Every time you look at the planning of this badger cull it seems more and more loopy and cack-handed.

    Rate   30
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