Can threatening saboteurs still wear masks?
A reader asks for some advice
Q: My wife, who hunts with a local pack of foxhounds, recently found herself being abused by two hunt saboteurs, both of whom were wearing masks to hide their identity. Police were called and the saboteurs eventually dispersed. I thought some legislation had been brought in to force these thugs to remove their masks. Is this the case?
The Countryside Alliance has reissued copies of its guidance booklet, Saboteurs and Shooting.
Earlier this month, director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders announced: “Social media can be used to educate, entertain and enlighten but there are also people…
No acts of aggression
A: Under the recently modified Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the provisions now allow a constable to require anyone to remove an item, such as a mask, which is being worn for the purpose of concealing his or her identity and, in addition, if the constable believes that the item is being worn just to hide identity then it may be seized. The intention is good but, in practice, saboteurs may wear balaclavas, claiming that these are just to keep warm. If any attempt is made by saboteurs to disrupt a shoot, guns must immediately be sleeved and the police called. It is essential that no acts of aggression are made towards the perpetrators, whether on a shoot or during a hunt.
— Hunt Saboteurs (@HuntSabs) December 26, 2017
What the Countryside Alliance says
“The use of violence, intimidation, and online bullying against individuals involved with hunting, and businesses providing a service to people and communities involved in lawful hunting is utterly unacceptable.
“It is the worst form of cowardly harassment or ordinary people and we expect the police to respond with the full force of the law, in light of the growing number of incidents. This behaviour would not be tolerated were it directed at any other group in our society or those businesses supplying services to them.”