This is advice for the General Public regarding obtaining video evidence of illegal hunting and how to report it
Capturing video evidence and Reporting a Crime
Stage 1 : Report to police : It is always best to report a crime in person rather than just phoning in.
Some police forces have dedicated units to deal with wildlife crime. N.W.C.U. “National Police Wildlife Crime Unit” http://www.nwcu.police.uk/
(Please note : You may find some law enforcement officers may have a bias opinion regarding hunting and may not investigate your reported incident fully. This maybe due to being hunt supporters themselves. In such cases we feel any Police officers should not be involved with cases where a conflict of interest may occur).
Also report to : “League Against Cruel Sports” : https://www.league.org.uk/animal-crimewatch who can advise on your best approach. tel : 01483 361 108
Please note when reporting any hunting crime to police it is advised to :
- Make copies of any evidence before handing over to police.
- Complete a full written statement at a police station. Always prepare a draft statement ensuring all evidence points are covered.
- Take a witness with you (carers come in handy when you need support and a witness).
- Ask for an incident reference number to enquire about updates.
- Keep electronic or hard copies of all correspondence.
- Due to the way many police forces have dealt with illegal fox hunting crimes, public trust is at an all time low.
Evidence needed for successful prosecution :
- Video evidence is best.
- Photos are less effective as they can not capture the whole scene needed for prosecution.
The C.P.S (Crown Prosecution Service) requires video evidence to show :-
- a fox being chased by hounds.
- (plus) being followed by the hunt horses.
- (plus) with hounds being encouraged to actively chase.
- (plus) with proof of location.
- (plus) with proof of date.
- (plus) identification of hunters.
- (plus) all in one continuous stream of video.
** Ensure you record evidence of date & location **
** KEEP THE CAMERA ROLLING **
Sadly killing a fox is not illegal but chasing one with a pack of hounds is.
For successful prosecution, the main footage to capture is the hunt actively hunting & encouraging the hounds to chase a fox and not trying to prevent this.
See link : Hunting with dogs Act 2004
Other important evidence to capture on camera :
- Illegally blocking of roads.
- Purposely obscuring camera view.
- Illegal quad bike riding on roads without reg plates and overloaded.
- Any violence.
- Cruelty to horses & hounds.
- Evidence of hunt trespass ie hounds & hunt invading private property, running through gardens.
- Damaging crops.
- Stampeding and killing livestock.
- killing pet cats and dogs.
- Causing accidents on roads and railway lines.
- Any location signs or landmarks.
- Damage to public vehicles.
- For identification purposes its Important to clearly film any person involved in the incident before, during & after.
- Hunts & terrier men using more than two dogs to flush out foxes.
- Also ensure you record evidence of date & location.
- Failure of police to ask to see gun licence, written permission, hound microchipping. All of which police should be checking.
Due to legal reasons, we can not advise the general public who have no experience in the hunting field to interfere in a hunt. Please leave this to experienced sabs or monitors.
No animal lover likes to see a fox being brutally killed by a hunt but interfering in the hunt could lead to a number of outcomes :
a) The general public with no hunting field experience interfering in a hunt could result in ♦ Putting yourself in danger of being attacked by hunters and their supporters. ♦ Scaring the fox back towards the chasing hounds. ♦ Giving hunters the opportunity of exaggerating and twisting the truth to cover their illegal activities. ♦ Help bring the hunt to justice in a successful prosecution by obtaining the required evidence of illegal hunting.
b) Being discovered by the hunt could result in the hunts changing tactics to cover up their crime resulting in not being able to collect the evidence needed.
c) Hunts break the law more when they think they are not being filmed. Therefore if you want to capture illegal evidence stay discrete.
d) Many hunts are known for their thuggery, abuse and violence towards anyone who they feel might obtain evidence against them or interfere in the hunt. You could risk yourself being brutally attacked by the hunt or their supporters.
e) By interfering you risk breaking the law yourself i.e aggravated trespass or public order offences.
It’s a hard decision to make ..
a) either interfere in chase and try to save the fox.
b) choose to try and bring the hunt to justice by staying discrete collecting evidence.
Its your choice to interfere or not but would advise the general public to collect video evidence of illegal hunting, report to police and leave the field work to experience sabs or monitors.
2nd stage : If you feel the police have failed in their duty to investigate and uphold the law.
This should be reported to : –
- Police Crime Commissioner (PCC)
- Professional Standards Departments (PSDs) who’s job it is to investigate police complaints.
- Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC).
(Please note : A number of elected commissioners have been known to be fox hunt supporters, therefore hold a bias opinion. In such cases we feel any Commissioners should not be involved with cases where a conflict of interest may occur).
3rd stage : The combined effort of getting :
a) Getting your local anti-hunt MP involved. https://www.foxhuntingevidenceuk.com/mp-positions-on-fox-hunting
b) Richard Burgon (Shadow Justice Secretary). http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/richard-burgon/4493
c) The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. https://policeconduct.gov.uk/news/media-team-contact-details
d) Anti hunt press/media to expose the truth.
e) League Against Cruel Sports” : https://www.league.org.uk/animal-crimewatch who can advise on your best approach. Tel : 01483 361 108
f) The Hunt Saboteurs Association …. Tel : 07443 148 426.
Start a social media campaign / petition and expose the truth .. or … join an anti hunt FB group who will help and advise you.
Note : When in the process of dealing with any complaints procedure its important to keep a log & copies of any correspondence and evidence.
Come and join us :
Our FaceBook Group : “Fox Hunting Evidence UK”
Our WebSite : “Fox Hunting Evidence UK”
Our Facebook Share Page : “FoxHuntingEvidenceUK”
Our Twitter Page : FoxEvidence