Fox Hunters Make Secret Deal With Warwickshire Police

Hounds put in danger by the Warwickshire Hunt.

Police Chief Matthew Longman called for a review of the Hunting Act in a recent Channel 4 exposé into Warwickshire Police’s secret protocol with the local hunt. ‘The Hunting Act is going to need reform, and to close some of these loopholes which are continually being exploited,’ said Longman.

Fox hunting on a blind bend.
Fox hunting on a blind bend.

Warwickshire Police issued a Community Protection Warning in May 2022 to the Warwickshire Hunt and then a full Community Protection Notice six months later, after repeated anti-social behaviour on public roads. Conditions imposed on the Warwickshire Hunt by the CPN would have required them to inform the police about all of their meets and the times and locations when they intended to cross roads.

These conditions would have made it difficult for an illegal hunt to take place as the unpredictable nature of a running fox would make it impossible to know which roads they would end up on in advance.

Hounds put in danger by the Warwickshire Hunt.
Hounds put in danger by the Warwickshire Hunt.

With the Warwickshire Hunt contesting the CPN, the case was due to be heard in Court in August 2023. However, days before the court date the CPN was dropped and replaced by a secret protocol after a meeting between senior police officers and members of the Warwickshire Hunt.

Despite repeated requests for transparency, the content of this protocol remains secret, and Freedom of Information requests from sabs, local residents and journalists have been refused. Often these requests have been ignored with no response from the police, though others have been refused with the police citing Section 32 of the Freedom Of Information Act.

Huntsman leads his hounds into danger.
Huntsman leads his hounds into danger.

An Inspector from the Rural Crime Team submitting a report detailing 29 incidents of dangerous road use committed by the Warwickshire Hunt since the CPN was removed and recommended that a new CPN by issued to them.

At a meeting involving Assistant Chief Constable David Gardner and Chief Inspector Steve Davies it was decided to take all antisocial behaviour and road traffic issues out of the hands of the Rural Crime Team and split it up between different departments within Warwickshire Police.

At the same meeting, it was also decided that Warwickshire Police would no longer be accepting any footage of road chaos  or criminality by the Warwickshire Hunt if it has been submitted by sabs. Instead, they will only accept reports from local people, as they claim it is only sabs who are witnessing the road chaos. Finally, it was decided that despite the overwhelming evidence Warwickshire Police would not be issuing the Warwickshire Hunt with another CPN.

Hound is almost struck.

West Midlands Saboteurs claim this is an attempt to silence them, asking “If we were on holiday in Scotland, would we not be able to report a crime we witnessed as we were not local? With Warwickshire Police actively refusing to police anything relating to the Warwickshire Hunt it has given the Warwickshire Hunt the green light to do what they want. If there is a serious accident caused by the hunt and we film it, Warwickshire Police are not interested.“

Saboteurs are not alone in making complaints against the Warwickshire Hunt. Matt Western MP for Warwick and Leamington explained the scale of complaints in his constituency. ‘Across Warwickshire hundreds of people, really, through social media who’ve been in touch and showed support and real anger about what they see taking place’.

Just another day in the Warwickshire countryside.

The involvement of Warwickshire Police Crime Commissioner, Philip Seccombe, who is a member of the Countryside Alliance, an organisation which openly supports hunting and campaigns for it to be decriminalised, further fuels concerns of bias.

While Seccombe denies involvement in operational matters regarding the discarded Community Protection Notice and the subsequent protocol, his role dictates that he is responsible for the conduct of senior officers in Warwickshire, and campaigners suspect him of exerting his influence over the closed-door meetings.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs said:

“Seccombe has denied that there is a conflict of interest with him being a member of an organisation that campaigns on behalf hunts like the Warwickshire, a hunt who were not only issued a CPN by police for their antisocial behaviour but are also currently under investigation for an incident where their hounds killed a fox in October last year. In our opinion we certainly feel that he has failed in his basic job of holding the Chief Constable to account over this issue”

Please support West Mids Hunt Sabs.

Find out how you can get involved with our campaign to strengthen the Hunting Act here.

Get involved!

Find out how you can be part of our campaign to strengthen the Hunting Act

Spread the word!

Please share our news

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required