Last week documents from 2003 emerged exposing current Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, Philip Seccombe as being passionately pro-hunt. These documents, from the time Mr Seccombe was a councillor on Stratford District Council, uncovered his proposed 2003 motion urging the House of Lords to reject the Hunting Act that now bans the hunting of mammals with dogs in England.
The documents quote him saying that banning fox hunting is an “unacceptable restriction on traditional English freedoms”. His motion was passed, but hunting was then banned under the Labour Government in 2004, with a clear majority in favour of the ban.
This information comes during the lead up to the next Police and Crime Commissioner election being held across the country next week, on Thursday May 6th.
”Police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are elected by you to oversee how crime is tackled in your police force area. Their aim is to cut crime and to ensure your police force is effective.” (choosemypcc.org)
Recently we are learning of more and more candidates being revealed as pro-hunt, posing what is a blatant conflict of interest to the role they are standing for. If the role of a PCC is to aim to ‘cut crime’and oversee how it’s tackled, but these candidates are openly against the Hunting Act, some of which even admit to wanting it repealed, then how are these people meant to be trusted when it comes to policing wildlife crime? By definition, a person who enjoys or is passionate about hunting,has no concern for wildlife or animals, because they see murder as entertainment. If you then put these people in police roles that have a direct influence on how crime is tackled in the area, which includes wildlife crime, of course they are not going to care and of course there is going to be a huge bias. This just shouldn’t be allowed; you wouldn’t let a shoplifter become a security guard in a shop. Similarly,we shouldn’t be electing people who enjoy killing wildlife to police wildlife crime, let alone letting them stand in the first place.
Philip Seccombe is a relevant example of this, and a recent scandal surrounding former hunt master Jonathon Seed who is standing to be Wiltshire's next PCC candidate is a further prime example of this conflict of interest. Seed has a very long association with the Avon Hale Hunt, he has been in court charged with offences relating to the Hunting Act, he has been photographed holding dead foxes and he has also been filmed saying he would much rather chase a real fox than a trail hunt because fox hunting is a ‘British tradition’ and‘good for the countryside’. A man who is so openly fervent about murdering wildlife, is in the running to be the next PCC for Wiltshire- a largely rural county which no doubt requires some increased wildlife policing due to the heavy presence of fox hunts in the area. Should he be elected, wildlife policing of the area will be non-existent.
Unfortunately, it seems many young people haven’t been informed or educated enough about the PCC role and what it really means, despite young people making up a large percentage of voters. Subsequently, it’s so important to try and raise awareness around who each candidate is, what they stand for and what their backgrounds are.
We are urging everyone to contact their candidates and find out their views on fox hunting and crime in general. All it takes is a simple email, these candidates have a duty to be honest with their voters otherwise they won’t get the votes.