Police spending on badger cull labelled "outrageous"
POLICE spending £64,703 on a badger cull that never happened has been labelled "outrageous" by a key figure in the county.
Gloucestershire Constabulary claimed the money from the Government for planning security around controversial culls, which were later postponed by MPs.
Forces can ask for extra Home Office cash to police events outside their normal duties.
Charles Mann, chairman of Gloucestershire NFU, said the blame must be placed with the aggressive activists who threatened to derail a potential cull by aggressive means.
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He said: "The only reason why the police have had to spend this outrageous amount (£64,703) of additional money is because of the threat to peace and safety that they genuinely perceived the animal rights protestors would have generated.
"All citizens of this country have the right to peaceful protest and debate.
"However, the type of animal rights protestors we are talking about here use intimidation and other violent methods to force their viewpoint against a lawful and needed policy which is designed to tackle head on a terrible disease in our countryside and it was not helped by the intervention of the Chief Executive of the RSPCA calling for farmers and contractors to be 'named and we will decide as citizens whether they will be shamed'.
"If it wasn't for these activists, the police would not have to take these additional measures to protect both the general public and the farmers who will be carrying out this necessary, lawful and licensed cull."
A police spokesman said: "The role of the police service is to remain independent, working with those undertaking the cull to enable them to carry out what is a lawful activity and those who wish to exercise their human rights to oppose it through peaceful and lawful protest."
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson announced in October the halt to the cull in the House of Commons. But campaigners said they would continue will their fight to stop the animals being killed as a means of controlling bovine TB.
He made the decision after the National Farmers Union (NFU) wrote to him requesting the postponement.
It said farmers were not confident they could carry out the cull given the lateness of the season and new figures revealing higher than anticipated badger numbers.