Badger cull protesters call police operation 'biased'
PROTESTERS against a badger cull in Gloucestershire have called for the police to bring an end to their operation because of “bias”.
The police have been accused by protesters of passing on their contacts to the National Farmers Union (NFU), while carrying out Operation Themis, the force’s response to the cull.
Videos have appeared on social media sites showing police officers saying protesters’ details will be passed to the NFU, after the officers were seen handing out civil injunctions taken out by the NFU.
Drew Pratten, from Stop the Cull group, said: “The officers have been handing out injunction notices. They certainly shouldn’t be doing that.
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“I know for a fact that the police have been incredibly heavy handed. I get stopped four times within a 20-minutes drive.
“That is just unbelievable. I think Gloucestershire Police should suspend its operations, or stop it entirely.
“At the moment, I am not sure it has been impartial.”
A police spokeswoman refuted the claims, and said: “The officer in this case should have stressed that we can rather than will pass information on to the NFU.
“This is because police always have discretion under the law to share information with others if there is a pressing social need to do so.
“As the High Court issued the injunction and the NFU would not be able to enforce it without details of possible breaches, we believe in certain circumstances there is a pressing social need to disclose information.
“The passing of information only happens after careful consideration, though, and depends on the individual circumstances of the alleged breach.”
She added: “Public safety is at the heart of Operation Themis and as such the operation will remain active for as long as is necessary, for the safety of all those involved, whatever their views, interest or involvement in the pilot scheme.
“Our role is to be operationally independent and impartial and we will continue to deliver our statutory responsibilities, which include dealing with any incidents of crime and disorder and ensuring that anyone who wishes to protest peacefully and lawfully is able to do so.”