Archive | June 2013

“Wargames” with the Police helps us produce a Legal Guide

www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/13/badger-cull-activists-protests-police

Whenever a police force approaches a grass roots direct action group to have a chat, the alarm bells should start ringing. In this particular case they wanted more than a chat, they wanted us to show them how we planned to behave, in return we would get to see how they planned to respond to us.

Police officers and anti-badger cull activist play war game ahead of badger cull

It would be naive to think that the police would reveal to us their actual level of policing, response times, crimes they were looking for etc. So it seemed on the face of it that we had nothing to gain and possibly something to lose, however we were allowed to bring in an independent adjudicator and decided it might be worth doing if we could get press out of it. Especially as  we would only be disclosing the tactics that are discussed quite regularly in a number of places:

1. Disrupting the illegal shooting of badgers, with bright lights and noise (not fireworks).

2. The monitoring and filming of the legal shooting of badgers, where we have been instructed that land has been licensed, of course we would have to make our presence known to the marksman to ensure public safety, this would be our intention. As to “have the intention of stopping a lawful activity” is a criminal offence.

With noise they considered “the harassment act” and “breach of the peace” for arrests.

Sections 50 and Sections 60 of the public order act, but they didn’t mention “aggravated trespass

During the “table top exercise” police didn’t think an offence could be committed if no noise was used, It is difficult to say you were “alarmed or distressed” by a torch being used across a field at night.

The police were unable to tell us which farms are licenced under the cull and which aren’t.

As this information is being kept secret, it is impossible for us to know whether badger killing on a particular farm is legal or not.

Below we shall go through each of these pieces of legislations, we would encourage everyone to do their own research & remember  Hunt Sabs go out every week all across the country during hunting season, they do often encounter police officers but there are very few convictions, as few as 3 in an entire year for “aggravated trespass” So don’t be scared by all these different offences, arm yourself with knowledge and you can steer clear convictions and successfully stop the cull using direct action.

Aggravated Trespass” This law was created just to try and stop hunt sabs:

A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land , does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

(a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

(b)of obstructing that activity, or

(c)of disrupting that activity.

The intention of the direct action is to disrupt the shooting of badgers which is illegal, the fact that a cull may be licenced during “some” time, on “some” land in a vague area, does not make shooting badgers legal, it may well be that within the cull zone some farmers have not paid into the cull but have decided to shoot badgers anyway thinking that no one would know, but even if they are legit, we are not to know where that zone is and which land is paid up and legal.

It is perfectly lawful upon seeing a group of people with guns to shout to them “stop shooting, we believe you are acting unlawfully and you are now under citizens arrest and must wait for the police” This would be a particularly good tactic if the police happened to be behind you as it would be making your intention very clear; that you are looking at stopping the illegal killing of badgers.

If it is made clear to us where the cull is taking place legally, we will endeavour to publish the boundaries of those pieces of land, so that everyone knows where it is taking place. If you want to help stop the cull, we would encourage you to go to these places to monitor and film the killing of badgers, using cree led torches and videocameras. If you feel that you need to use noise to make any marksman aware of your position to ensure your own and others safety then that is a perfectly lawful intention, if it has the effect of scaring badgers away from bait points, thats ok, as long as that was not your intention!

General advice for dealing with the police is to say “no comment”, you may well come across some police who seem like thoroughly nice people, however they are wasting your time AND can be very tricky, for example:

Police officer: “Isn’t it terrible about these badgers, we are right behind you. Are you going to try and stop the shooting?”

You: “yes, we are going over there and hopefully we can distract them from slaughtering badgers”

Police officer: “you are under arrest”

Keep it short and polite:

Police officer: “My daughter is a vegetarian, I think its terrible, where are you heading?”

you: “I am walking the highways & footpaths as is my right, good night” and keep walking.

You have nothing to gain from chatting to police officers, a badger could literally be shot in the few minutes you spend chatting to them trying to present a polite front.

the harassment act

Prohibition of harassment.

(1)A person must not pursue a course of conduct—

(a)which amounts to harassment of another, and

(b)which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

(2)For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.

(3)Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows—

(a)that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,

(b)that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or

(c)that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.

A “course of conduct” means that at least two incidents have happened to an individual, for example a marksman could say:

“at 9.30pm someone shouted at me to stop killing badgers, I was scared, the person shouting had flourescent trousers, I jumped on my quad bike and drove on to the next bait point. 30 minutes later the same person screamed at me, I was scared” This could happen over ANY time frame, half an hour or 3 weeks/months.

To avoid being arrested for Harassment a very simple method is to wear the same  clothing as everyone else, this makes it much harder for anyone to identify you.

Combat trousers (or black trousers)

Black hooded top

Yellow Hi-Viz Jacket (these fold up small)

Cut off the arm of a black t-shirt if you don’t want to be filmed and recognised, put this cut off arm round your neck and pull it up whenever you need it. You can at a push use a complete t-shirt

This goes for most offences, if you can’t be identified then the legal system comes to a halt. By not giving marksman or police officers any identifying factors about yourself as you travel around the zone you protect not only yourself but others who are dressed like you.

This picture is taken from 8th of June 2013, Sabs walked all over several shooting estates, no arrests were made and if they had, it would have been impossible to say who had done what.

Which brings us on to section 60 of the Public order act an act that has to be put in place by a senior police officer, to cover a specific area for no more than 48 hours, for the purposes of protesting it is used to stop facial coverings being used, An officer can ask you to remove a facial covering if this is in place and arrest you if you refuse, it is not until AFTER you have been arrested that you have to take off a disguise. Ask to see copies of the order, where it covers and when it was signed and by whom.

Section 50 of the public order act may be used so that police officers can try and gather intelligence on who is demonstrating and where they are from, by threatening to arrest them if they don’t give them their name an address, this is done when a crime is believed to be taking place similar  to Section 5 of the public order act:

A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—

(a)that he had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, or

(b)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or

(c)that his conduct was reasonable.

Offences would include swearing such as “you f#$*ing murderer” but if no such offences have taken place, then a section 50 cannot be legally used, if you are told that you must give your name and adress under this section insist on finding out what anti-social behaviour is taking place, generally when police know that you understand “section 50 of the public order act” fully they may leave you alone.

breach of the peace

Is not  a criminal offence so you would not end up with a criminal record.

We would urge everyone to read up on these offences, so that everyone can feel confident that they are acting within the law, the police have been known to say to people “You have to leave the area” or “you have to take off the face covering” and they particularly like to try and get information about you, where your from etc. thats why its so important to know your rights.

Police do occasionally arrest people just to be seen to be doing something, if you are at the receiving end of that sort of behaviour, you could like many hundreds of people before you, be liable to a compensation payment from the police of thousands of pounds.

To stay broadly within the law:

Don’t swear or threaten anyone (section 5 of Public order act)

Don’t declare the intention of stopping a lawful activity (aggravated trespass)

Safety should be paramount for all parties, make sure that shooters are aware of your location.

Wear the same clothes as everyone else, this protects everyone, if you can’t run across fields stopping badgers from being killed, wear the same clothes of those that do, by standing shoulder to shoulder we can stop the cull.

“We are treading a line between the parties,” said  Police Inspector Ravenscroft. “Public safety is paramount to everybody involved. We could request that the culling company stop activity on the ground on a particular night to safeguard public safety.”

With 300 of us we can make it difficult for them, with 500 of us we can be at most crossroads and hundreds of observation points which should bring the cull to a grinding halt within a week, With a thousand of us, we will stop it immediately.

Don’t wait for someone else to organise; find friends, prepare, be ready..

Link

Related links:

Whitehall chiefs scan Twitter to head off badger protests

Police say they’re ready to deal with badger cull in Gloucestershire

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Thinking of helping to Stop The Cull? Here’s a list of essentials..

Multicolored clothes pile

Layers of clothing. It can get very cold in the open countryside especially in the evening and early in the morning. Layers can be removed as needed.

 

 

waterproof-special-offer

 

Waterproof coat and leg wear. Protect yourself from the wet/ damp when out in the countryside.

 

 

 

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Waterproof boots/ walking boots. They’ll go with the above.

 

 

 

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Hat and gloves. Makes sense.

 

 

Water-Bottle

 

Bottled water. Absolutely essential.

 

 

 

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Torch and spare batteries. Another essential piece of kit.

 

 

 

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Energy snacks. We’ve chosen the ‘nakd’ bar here as they’re reasonably priced, taste great, are vegan and some of the money from their sales goes to Animal Aid.

 

 

 

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Camera/ video camera. You never know what you might see and want to record.

 

 

 

cellphone

 

Mobile phone. Essential. Everybody will know where everybody is.

 

 

 

 

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High visibility jacket. Enables marksmen to know not to shoot.

 

 

 

 

SLEEPING-BAGS

 

Sleeping bag. In case you decide to stay overnight.

 

 

 

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Car. If you are bringing one, make sure it is completely legal otherwise it will bring unwanted attention from the police.

 

 

and finally …

Backpack_SKDY2005-GRN_1

 

A sturdy backpack. To carry all this stuff in.

 

 

 

Contacts:

Three Counties hunt saboteurs. Email: threecountiessabs@live.co.uk

Gloucester Against Badger Shooting. Email:  glosagainstbadgershooting@gmail.com

Hunt Saboteurs Association. Email: info@huntsabs.org.uk

Govt guidelines on slaughtering badgers

Click pic to view (PDF)

Click pic to view the PDF (Government website)

A message from the local groups in the Gloucestershire cull zone

We are truly amazed by the astonishing response from across the country against the cull and immensely grateful to those who have travelled such long distances to be here with us. We would like to make the following points regarding this area in order to ensure that those coming here make the most impact and also are safe.

Firstly the shooting has not yet begun. The resources of those who are from far afield may need to be focused on when it does begin. Using up all days off, finances, goodwill (for those dog sitting and so forth) now may mean that some may not be able to come later when lots of people are needed.

cull-zoneThere are three areas of anti cull activity which people coming into the area may wish to get involved with;
Being at Forthampton, the more sedentary can have a picnic, others may wish to partake a ramble of the many footpaths or cycle around the lanes. Stalls in local towns and villages, demos etc. Feel free to contact us and see what is going on

Sett surveying.

Now if you want to come sett surveying and are not part of a visiting group we need to meet you, we need to ensure that you know how to survey and read a map and if not team you up with someone who has those skills. We can not emphasise enough the importance of going through us first because many areas have been looked at thoroughly so we don’t want work duplicated, we also don’t want people going blind into certain areas where landowners are prone to be very agitated and potentially violent both for their own safety and the safety of others who may walk into a situation the very next day. We also need areas that have not yet been done to be allocated so please do not just turn up, pick a wood and go searching there is a system already in place.

Anti-cull activists patrol part of the cull zone, at the Forthampton shooting estate in Gloucestershire (Pic from Hereford Heckler)

Anti-cull activists patrol part of the cull zone, at the Forthampton shooting estate in Gloucestershire (Pic from Hereford Heckler)

Delivering leaflets and papers, we are looking to get these delivered all across the cull zone.

If you do want to come to the Gloucestershire zone and want to meet up with us we would be delighted to hear from you and help with accommodation. We are however all volunteers and if we don’t get back right away please call us again, it’s busy down here! We also ask that people look after themselves and others. Come prepared! It can get very cold in the fields and woods especially at night you need the following;

Layers will keep you warmest and when it gets hot you can take some off.
Waterproof coats and leg wear.
Waterproof boots, wellies or walking boots.
Hat
Water……absolutely essential that everyone carries a water bottle.
Torch and spare batteries.
Energy snack.
Camera/mobile/reflective jacket (if you want).
If out in the day and walking and wearing shorts….you WILL regret it. Carry trousers/waterproof trousers to put on if you have to walk through brambles,nettles.
Probably best to have a change of clothes too.
A sleeping bag is useful if you need to stay over.
Please ensure that any car brought into the zone is legal i.e MOT/tax/insured/ driving licence/etc, the police are checking.

Our contact numbers are:
Drew GABS 07526 829426
Three Counties 0752 7773697

Freebeagles: Legal advice for activists. Click to visit

Freebeagles: Legal advice for activists. Click to visit

Cull saboteurs: ‘We will put ourselves between the bullets and the badgers’

Lynn, a 46-year-old midwife, finds a novel way to fill her days off. The one-time hunter is now a hunt saboteur who finds herself at the centre of the Government’s controversial badger cull. She splits her time between maternity wards and patrolling country estates of Worcestershire.

She is just one of an estimated 700 saboteurs who are fighting the plan to use licensed marksmen to shoot around 5,000 badgers in two pilot cull zones in Gloucestershire and Somerset. Around 500 of them are prepared to trespass on property to disrupt the cull.  “Obviously at night we’ll be finding the marksmen and putting ourselves between the bullets and the badgers,” Lynn told The Independent.

Image1The badger cull row tearing up the countryside shows no sign of dissipating. While ministers argue that a cull is necessary to curb the spread of tuberculosis in cattle; critics argue that the cull is unethical or scientifically and economically flawed.

The coalition of opponents might be diverse – it includes Queen guitarist Brian May, TV presenter David Attenborough, and some prominent scientists – but it is the hunt saboteurs who stand accused of directing a “reign of terror” on farmers.

But Lynn believes they have been unfairly smeared. “The typical stereotypical image of the hunt sab is someone dressed head-to-toe in black, someone who doesn’t work, a 20-something-year-old male, but that’s absolute nonsense. The farming industry makes us out to be terrorists, or all evil people, but we’re individuals,” she said.

Lynn, who has a number of animal rights convictions for her involvement in anti-hunting and anti-vivisection campaigns, founded the group 3 Counties Hunt Saboteurs, last year. She gave up hunting after she saw some “terrible things” done to foxes, deer, hares and mink. She said that “very committed” new people were joining the “sabs”, or saboteurs, and scouring the fields straight from work.

“We’re seeing doctors, teachers, all sorts of people,” said Lynn, who can spend up to 50 hours a week checking badger setts, organising volunteers, or doing outreach. She also works as a midwife on a shift basis at a local hospital, usually at night. “I’m actually quite open about things,” she said. “Some of my colleagues do know, just as I am aware of what they do out of work.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway, national co-ordinator for domestic extremism at the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last year that clashes between protesters and cullers could pose “clear potential harm to public safety”. He added that there was “some potential for unlawful direct action, disorder and criminality” if the cull went ahead.

This week it emerged that officers policing the culls have carried out “wargames” with animal rights activists and cullers to simulate confrontations that might occur. Inspector Mark Ravenscroft of Gloucestershire Police said enforcing the cull remained a “big concern.” He stressed that the force will “allow people to bend the law to protest peacefully” by allowing a short protest on a highway, for example, to stop a group blocking the road all day.

But Elaine, a 49-year-old social care worker, who has volunteered as a hunting sab for over 25 years, said saboteurs “were not aggressors”. The Herefordshire-born activist treads a thin line between horse-owning country enthusiast and animal-rights crusader.

“I ride, I have my own horses, and I have drag hunted, but I was brought up to love and respect animals,” she said. “I don’t feel the need to go out in a balaclava. Work knows what I’m like and they don’t mind.”

She denied sabs were using intimidating techniques and dismissed claims that by trespassing, she could be breaching the law. “Whatever [the cull] is doing is 100 times worse that what I’m doing. When it comes to saving lives, if I have to tread off a footpath to do it, it’s worth it,” she said.

Michael, who is in his late sixties and has seven grandchildren, wants to help stop the cull. The retired builder lives in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and has been involved in animal rights for 50 years. The former trustee of a wildlife rescue centre said: “This unscientific experiment they’re doing is wrong. I’ll help as much as I can; [the grandchildren] are right behind me. I spend four out of five days a week surveying and mapping sites, and checking setts aren’t baited. We’ve definitely got public support.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “People have a right to protest but this must be carried out within the law. The pilot culls are a legal and lawful activity and it is wholly unacceptable that those involved should be subject to intimidation or be a target for criminal activity.”

Article

Volunteers Needed for the GABS Wounded Badger Patrol

Click to visit the GABS website

Click to visit the GABS website

Reposted from Badger Army

“Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting (GABS) is a local group which has been working as a part of Team Badger for the last year to try and stop the senseless pilot badger cull.

It has set up a Wounded Badger Patrol which will walk the public footpaths and highways in the Gloucestershire cull zone before and during any cull to look for injured badgers during the evening and night.

The group will only act within the law and and will not trespass on land or intimidate land owners.

We need people who can do anything from just 1 patrol to doing a regular weekly slot. Patrol members will go out in small groups and will wear branded high viz jackets. Guidance notes will be provided for people on patrol.

To find out more or join the patrol please either email wbpglos@gmail.com or call 07928 775012 “