A recently-released report from the campaigning group Action Against Fox Hunting has highlighted an inconsistent approach by police forces across the UK in response to reports of illegal hunting activity.

Hunting with dogs was banned in 2005 following the introduction of the Hunting Act.

The League Against Cruel Sports has dedicated members of staff who train police officers in wildlife crime, but says the report highlights the need for more training to be carried out.

Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League and a former head of the Wildlife Crime Unit, said: “It should be borne in mind that this report is a snapshot of just four hunts, out of a figure near 294 that purport to not chase British wild mammals, so this gives an indication of the scale of the problem nationally.

“Not only does there need to be greater investment in police training on all aspects of legislation that covers hunting-related issues, but also the police need to be assisted in their investigations by the Hunting Act being strengthened to remove the current exemptions and a recklessness clause being introduced.

“This will make it a more straight-forward piece of legislation and therefore easier for the police to investigate and the Crown Prosecution Service to take forward.”

The report was covered by the Independent and is available to read here.

ENDS