HSA news release 19th January 2003

Chucking taxpayers' money down the pan...

We are continuing to highlight the extraordinary relationships between the police and foxhunts in Surrey, as new information comes to light...

On 3 separate occasions in January (2003), police officers from Surrey have offered financial inducements to animal rights campaigners in return for information on the identities, intentions and movements of Hunt Saboteurs in the county.

Offers of money come at a time when Surrey police are practically throwing money down the toilet pan in their efforts to curtail opposition to the 2 beleaguered hunts in the county, whilst at the same time explaining that they are unable to attend 'low priority' incidents and crimes due to lack of resources!! It coincides with a new chief constable, and a force attitude that seems to shout 'Too biased to change, Too arrogant to care' although they know that wouldn't look too clever inscribed on the side of a police car!

The laughable fact is that the police could find almost all this out for free if they stopped treating sabs like dirt and abandon the aggravated trespass laws they started using at the behest of the hunts this year (after 10 years of relatively trouble free policing!).

In previous times, it was expedient for local sabs to let hunt liaison officers know numbers that would be out at hunts in Surrey - if something had happened to warrant a larger attendance (i.e. a sab being beaten up) they were told so they could stop things escalating. In return, the police response was generally proportionate and pragmatic involving hunt sabs' activities. Now however, relations are at an all time low. Police don't know whether there will be 2 or 20 sabs out, or what will happen if the hunt attack sabs as they did before Christmas at Newdigate. They are having to field at least 20 officers each time a hunt is out, and the hunt liaison officer positions are a joke, a more apt title would be hunt support officers.

Some previous Surrey officers given the hot potato of policing foxhunts have used their skills at calming situations at hunts, standing up to hunt pressure and funny handshakes and thereby reducing police costs as stepping stones to higher office (are you reading this at the Chief Supt's Assn?!). In the current situation, throwing taxpayers' money on a bonfire would be as useful!


How the costs are mounting after only a few Saturdays of hunting in Surrey:

Date

Hunt

Meet

No. Police

No. 4x4

No. Riot vans

No. Mounted

26/10/02

union

Ockley

40+

6

1

2

09/11/02

union

Tilford

18+

4

0

2

23/11/02

union

Peaslake

20+

5

0

2

23/11/02

burstow

Dry Hill

25+

5

1

2

30/11/02

burstow

Horne

24+

5

1

2

07/12/02

union

Hascombe

26+

7

0

2

07/12/02

burstow

Tandridge

24+

5

1

2

26/12/02

union

Kennels

22+ (Triple rates)

5

1

2

28/12/02

burstow

Staffhurst Wood

40+

6

2

2

18/01/03

union

Ranmore

24+

6

2

2

01/02/03

union

Willingshurst

26+

5

0

2

15/02/03

union

Ellens Green

16+

5

0

2

01/03/03

union

Shere

16+

5

0

2

Totals

321+

69

9

26

2 Surrey hunts are thought to have cost taxpayers well over £200,000 since the end of October 2002, all for an average of 25 riders at each hunt to have a day's 'fun' killing foxes, and sometimes with as many as 8 police officers and 2 vehicles for each sab! On boxing day at the surrey union, there were over 20 police officers (on triple salary rate) at the hunt - How much did that cost?

In fact, going over some old press cuttings from the Surrey Advertiser (18/03/93), the then Chief Constable of Surrey, David Williams, was quoted: "this cost, of diverting officers from street duties in towns and villages elsewhere in Surrey, must be measured in terms of reduced service levels as well as purely financial aspects". (Police were most noticeably deployed at 2 hunts in Tilford, and Leigh) On each occasion the total policing cost was £28,400. A total of £17,000 represents the value of resources directed from other duties while about £11,400 was the "unavoidable additional cost" of extra policing. Considering the rises in police pay and other costs in the last 10 years, the figures we put forward must be wild underestimates.

Are you a journalist? like to think of yourself as 'investigative' and/or impartial? then why not ask Surrey police why they are throwing taxpayers' money down the drain every day a hunt is out in Surrey?!

Are you a serving Surrey policeman sick of this waste of our money and your time? Rather be out catching rapists, burglars and muggers than providing free security for influential people? Do you know for sure what happened to change Surrey police hunt strategy last year? All information in confidence!

Are you a Surrey County taxpayer? why not contact the police or the Surrey Police Authority to see whether they know or care how much money is being wasted on supporting the fox hunts in Surrey?

Surrey Police Authority
PO Box 412
Guildford
Surrey
Gu3 1BR
Tel: 01483 482151
Fax: 01483 482027

Surrey Police
Surrey Police HQ
Mount Browne
Guildford
Surrey
Gu3 1HG
Tel: 01483 571212
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or read more at Operation Brown Nose