Police officers use different approach to tackle nuisance hunting
Main article content
Police officers working in Northamptonshire Police’s Rural Crime Team have recently taken a different approach to tackle nuisance hunting across the county.
The Hunting Act which was established in 2004 banned fox hunting with hounds, meaning the Hunts had to switch to trail hunting instead.
Trail hunting involves people following a scent along a pre-determined route and replicates a traditional hunt but without a fox being chased, injured or killed.
However, the Force continues to receive reports and complaints from members of the public about particular Hunts causing distress, nuisance and annoyance in rural areas.
On a number of occasions, animals including small muntjac deer, have been killed on these hunts by hounds.
Where a report is received of animals being chased or killed by the hounds during trail hunting, Northamptonshire Police will launch an investigation.
However, where the evidence isn’t there to prove with certainty that criminal offences have been committed but behaviour which constitutes as anti-social has taken place, officers are now making use of different legislation to enforce against Hunts.
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: “Recently, we have been using anti-social behaviour legislation to respond to concerns from our rural communities about Hunts in their local areas.
“This involves reviewing all of the calls made and after recording any criminal offences, also seeking to capture the alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance caused, or likely to have been caused, to those people involved. We also review any available CCTV.
“We then use anti-social behaviour legislation to enforce against the Hunts and there are a range of options at our disposal.
“These include initial advice and warning letters to encourage compliance. However, where these letters are ineffective, we may consider escalating to more serious intervention options, such as formal anti-social behaviour warnings.
“We recently did this with one Hunt who altered their behaviour and as a result, the number of calls and complaints coming in about them dramatically reduced.”
The approach taken here is consistent with how the Force manages crime and anti-social behaviour in the wider community and involves considering both criminal and anti-social behaviour legislation under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Northamptonshire Police is committed to policing all our communities, both urban and rural using all appropriate legislation. We will always encourage and acknowledge compliance, however where police warnings are not complied with, we will escalate to other enforcement options including injunctions where required.
We would encourage the public to continue to report any illegal hunting concerns to the police and reassure you that your personal details will not be shared without your permission in line with our privacy notice.
You can find out more about the Rural Crime Team via the link below including how to report any rural crime. Alternatively in relation to this article please contact us using the e mail address below.