We all know that hunting is cruel. We all know that it is illegal. We all know that 85% of the public opposes it. We all know that illegal hunting goes on all the time. We all know that it is for the police to enforce the law. Why then would the Home Office appoint the Chair of the Countryside Alliance to be Chair of the College of Policing?
AAF wrote to the Cabinet Office and asked why Nick Herbert was appointed, given that there was such an obvious conflict of interest. Among other things, we pointed out that members of the Hunting Office were recently caught on video saying that trail hunting is a “smokescreen”. This means that hunts are routinely breaking the law – the law the police must enforce. We pointed out that Nick Herbert is Chair of the Countryside Alliance, the organisation that campaigns to bring back hunting. The Cabinet Office replied, saying that the recruitment panel decided that there was no conflict of interest in Nick Herbert’s appointment. They did not respond to any of the points in our email.
BUT THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST IS CLEAR.
Nick Herbert likes hunting and he hates everyone who opposes it. This is what he says about saboteurs:
There is nothing ethical about Nick Herbert’s appointment. Without a doubt, it suggests that the pro hunting lobby is sneaking their “people” into influential places and they only have one thing on their agenda: PROTECT THE HUNTERS FROM THE LAW.
So, what do we do?
Below is a copy of AAF’s letter to the Home Office. Copy and paste the letter (or devise one of your own) and send it to this address.
Dear Secretary of State
I am complaining about the appointment of Nick Herbert as chair of the College of Policing. I understand that the appointment was made by the Home Office.
I believe that there is a serious conflict of interest in his appointment.
Nick Herbert supports foxhunting and foxhunting is against the law (Hunting Act 2004).
Foxhunting is a highly controversial activity. Those who now claim to be “trail hunting” have been discredited. (* see below).
Nick Herbert has a longstanding association with hunting wild mammals, before and after the 2004 ban. He was joint master of Trinity Foot Beagles 1984-1985. This hunt killed hares. In 1987 he formed the Newmarket Beagles and was huntsman. He was appointed to the British Field Sports Society in 1990. This was the previous name for the Countryside Alliance. He once descried foxhunting as an addiction.
Nick Herbert is chair of the Countryside Alliance – the organisation which campaigns to overturn the Hunting Act and reinstate foxhunting as a legitimate pastime.
The Countryside Alliance provides legal help to hunters prosecuted for illegal foxhunting. Their aim is to prevent convictions. This is clearly not impartial.
Nick Herbert clearly has no moral objection to foxhunting. However, the majority of the population does.
* In a leaked webinar held in August 2020, the Hunting Office explained to their Hunt Masters how to pretend to be trail hunting, when in fact they are foxhunting. They were showing participants how to avoid prosecution for an illegal act. The CPS has begun a prosecution. “Trail hunting” was described as a “smokescreen”.
Additionally, there is a significant amount of intelligence and evidence on line to show that illegal foxhunting has continued despite the ban.
The Code of Ethics and Professional Standards are there to prevent officers from showing bias in their professional activities. The College of Policing produces the Code of Ethics. Action Against Foxhunting (AAF) has been discussing police bias in hunt-related incidents with police forces and we have many times been referred to the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards as measures to prevent bias. With Nick Herbert as Chair of the College of Policing, the public will have no trust at all in the impartiality of police officers in hunt-related incidents. Police officers investigating illegal hunting may need to refer to Professional Standards if they think they are being hampered by another officer who is pro hunting. They would hesitate to do this if the Chair of the College of Policing is a hunter.
Nick Herbert is biased against anti-hunt groups. In a recent article for the Telegraph, he called anti-hunt individuals “extremists”, told us they all wear “balaclavas” and “scream” at people on horses.
His impression of anti-hunt protestors is entirely wrong and based on bias and deliberate misinformation. Police have been working on “unconscious bias”, and here is the Nick Herbert promoting it.
The Chair of the Countryside Alliance cannot also be the Chair of the College of Policing. The impartiality of the police force is crucial. It is seriously undermined by Nick Herbert’s appointment.