Police ‘have biased beliefs on foxhunting opponents and challenge them more than huntsmen’

Would-be freedom of information request discloses associations between police forces and sector, lack of grip on terror and differing attitudes to Uber and social housing Police ‘have biased beliefs on foxhunting opponents and challenge…

Police ‘have biased beliefs on foxhunting opponents and challenge them more than huntsmen’

Would-be freedom of information request discloses associations between police forces and sector, lack of grip on terror and differing attitudes to Uber and social housing

Police ‘have biased beliefs on foxhunting opponents and challenge them more than hunters’

Police forces come across as biased towards side from which they receive charity and conflict funding and challenge foxhunting opponents more than huntsmen, according to a Freedom of Information request.

The Guardian, in a request to 63 forces in England and Wales, found most applicants seeking money from the Terrorism and Disruption Fund and the Armed Forces Disruption Fund were aligned to anti-hunting organisations.

Poppy Robinson, a solicitor, applied on behalf of the TaxPayers’ Alliance for the records of over 5,000 requests for the charity funding since the EU referendum, citing its support for the national Night for Truth campaign, which seeks to expose the selective use of intelligence to justify military operations.

After the government cut access to public sector donations in July 2016, Robinson said the association’s “membership increases of more than 100% every month”, which increases its own financial need.

In England and Wales alone, police are expected to allocate £100m of taxpayers’ money for anti-terrorism training and equipment.

To find out whether police come across as biased towards pro-hunting or anti-hunting organisations, Robinson did a spot check.

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She asked for details of the kind of requests police have received and how many have been made by anti-hunting groups. She then turned to each force to find out if requests for the same amount of money from the same charity or organisation came in at the same rate.

Police authorities showed that referrals to anti-hunting groups such as the Countryside Alliance and the RSPCA would be picked up at the same rate but referrals to anti-hunting groups with similar activities and campaigns but with a different name or purpose would be less likely.

Robinson found police in Yorkshire and Humberside, North Yorkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Dorset, East Anglia, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire, South Wales, Lincolnshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Norfolk, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, North Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Surrey, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Bedfordshire, South Yorkshire, Lancashire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Bedfordshire, Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Central Bedfordshire, Surrey, Dyfed Powys, South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, Norfolk, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Avon and Somerset, Gwent, Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Lancashire.

It shows that North Yorkshire will contact the Countryside Alliance but not the RSPCA. Hampshire will ask for money from the RSPCA but not the Countryside Alliance, and Cheshire will ask for the Countryside Alliance but not the RSPCA.

Each police authority was asked to explain why it would be unlikely or unlikely to query requests for money with the RSPCA.

Robinson said: “It’s pretty obvious that if you are anti-hunting you probably want the money so that you can put on a campaign to keep hunt saboteurs out of your pub. That’s what you’d be expecting. The fact that you’re within the geographical area is irrelevant.”

People have made 56,000 applications to the armed forces fund and 18,000 applications to the charity funding since the EU referendum, according to the Department for Education. The Home Office said there was nothing in the Freedom of Information Act that prevented requests for the same amount of money.

However, the Home Office did not consider that the charity funding application would undermine anti-terrorism work and rejected a Labour Party request in June 2017 for the figures on why police applications for the same amount of money were made.

Louise Mensch, a former Tory MP and critic of large swaths of government policy, said: “Why do British police often come across as hostile to those they are given money to protect? The Tories and Labour seem wedded to absurd beliefs that the welfare state works best when it insulates people from having to make decisions or to take risks.”

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