National Gamekeepers Organisation asks North Yorkshire Police to enforce the law on shoot disruptors
The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO) have written to North Yorkshire Police over concerns that anti-shooting activists have been claiming to work for the police.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, activists are introducing themselves to members of the public they come across in upland areas as working on the police’s behalf. The NGO wrote to the police force to highlight their concerns, and to highlight that gamekeepers do much to help the police and other emergency forces in the uplands.
They also raised another issue – the fact that anti-shooting campaigners, such as the Moorland Monitors and the likes of Luke Steele (who has now rebranded himself as "Wild Moors"are increasingly choosing to publish personal information about moorland workers online.
In the letter, the NGO wrote:
“Gamekeepers in the countryside can provide an important set of additional eyes and ears for local policing helping ever more stretched rural policing teams”.
“In recent years, however, these rural workers have been painted in some quarters as villains and the ones that should be watched. We are writing to raise our concerns with regard to the actions of predominantly anonymous people who claim to be acting on behalf of the police or working for the police as self-appointed 'moorland monitors'. Some actions appear designed to implicate gamekeepers in alleged criminal activity.”
As well as publishing information online, anti-shooting activists have been disrupting shoots across the uplands this August, as well as destroying estate property and causing criminal damage. On 12 August three shoots in the Yorkshire Dales were targeted in what is thought to have been a coordinated effort by saboteurs, costing up to £40,000 in damage and lost revenue.
North Yorkshire Police's response was as follows:
“Everyone who lives in, works in or visits North Yorkshire are our eyes and ears for spotting rural crime and we encourage the public to report anything of concern to the police for investigation. We take all aspects of wildlife and rural crime very seriously and we are committed to ensuring our countryside is a safe place for our communities.”
However the newly elected police, fire and crime commissioner Philip Allot refused to accept that animal rights activists were in the wrong. “Within North Yorkshire there is a small clique of individuals who claim certain rights and privileges on both sides of the debate," he told the Daily Telegraph. “Police end up having to play umpire which it is not their role to do.”