Patience may run out in Gloucestershire over extended badger cull - Police Commissioner
Patience may run out on both sides of the debate in the badger cull, and disorder may result from the cull’s extension in Gloucestershire.
That’s the concern of Martin Surl, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the man who sets the policy for Gloucestershire Police.
Natural England, which licensed the original six-week trial cull which ended this month, has allowed another eight weeks for shooters to try and kill up to 940 badgers in the west of the county, until December 18.
Mr Surl had previously expressed concerns that the cull would lead to an unacceptable burden on police in the county. Yesterday, he said: "My views on a cull extension have been widely reported and led to criticism from two local MPs. It doesn’t alter my primary concern that prolonging the exercise will test the patience and good will shown so far by all sides to the detriment of those communities where it is taking place.
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“The cull is an issue which has divided the country. Managing it has been a delicate operation with the full cost still to be worked out, but thanks to the skill and professionalism of the police and the understanding and good sense shown on all sides, we have got this far without many people’s worst fears with regard to public safety being realised.“
Although Mr Surl would not comment on the rights and wrongs of the cull itself, Drew Pratten, Gloucestershire spokesman for Stop The Cull was not so reticent.
He said: “Even the government’s science showed that the trial didn’t work. It’s turning into a bit of a shambles.
“I think it’s about imposing their will, some farmers want badgers off their land and the government is not doing anything to stop them.
But a farmer’s leader saidworking out how best to use a cull to control bovine TB was necessary.
Andy Robertson, NFU Director General, said: “Disease control has always been the absolute focus for everyone involved with the culls. The Chief Vet said that extending the culling period would help achieve the earliest and greatest possible impact on bovine TB in Gloucestershire so we welcome Natural England’s decision.
“There have been learning experiences as to the best way of carrying out the culls effectively throughout the operations and the knowledge learned will be essential for helping with future roll out of culls in areas where TB is rife.”