Hunting community blames ‘extremists’ for being issued Community Protection Notice

Back in December 2022, the Warwickshire Hunt was issued with a Community Protection Notice (CPN). But now the police have backtracked, having negotiated with the hunt to come to a “sensible working arrangement”. It should come as little surprise that the hunting community has used this news as an opportunity to complain about police “criminalising legal activities“.

The CPN would have forced the hunt to give Warwickshire Police advance notice of events, and details of the times and locations of road crossing points. The police force said it has withdrawn the CPN because:

“We met with the hunt last week to discuss a protocol they had proposed. The force was satisfied this protocol, if adhered to, would meet the goals of the CPN and that there was therefore no requirement for the CPN.”

Warwickshire police also said that it wants to “build a better relationship with the hunt”.


The hunting community is arguing that Warwickshire Police only issued the CPN because of pressure from hunt saboteurs and monitors. The Countryside Alliance’s Polly Portwin went as far as saying:

“We are concerned that some forces have become increasingly reactive, and this case should be a lesson to the police about the pitfalls of trying to satisfy extremists.”

Portwin seemingly believes that hunt saboteurs and monitors who try to protect foxes from being illegally murdered are extreme, while those who love to hunt down and watch defenceless creatures being torn up are just harmless tweed-wearing rural citizens.

Meanwhile, the British Hound Sports Association (BHSA), hunting’s governing body, moaned:

“Our legal advice has always been clear that the use of community protection notices in relation to hunts, mostly in response to spurious allegations by anti-hunting activists, is wholly inappropriate.”

The argument that the police are responding to random allegations by hunt saboteurs is ludicrous. Protect the Wild understands that the CPN was issued as a result of evidence gathered by experts, who have a particular expertise in road laws.

Hunt saboteurs don’t need to make up stories: they capture instances of hunt havoc, and back them up with photos or footage, documenting everything they witness. Take, for example, the video that West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs released on Facebook on 23 November 2022. The footage shows hounds who are out of control on the bend of a busy road. The sabs said at the time:

“Today we witnessed the whole Warwickshire Hunt cause utter chaos on the main, busy A422 road to Stratford. No regard for the safety of their hounds or road users. This behaviour is incredibly dangerous and is a massive health and safety concern.
The Warwickshire Hunt need to stop using public roads as personal hunting grounds. As we have already said this hunt will cause a serious accident at some point.”
The sabs have captured hunt hounds on roads on other occasions, too.

Legal…. really?

The BHSA complained to the Daily Telegraph that it:

“[does] not believe that there are any legitimate circumstances in which CPNs could be issued in relation to hunting activity.

The BHSA has a strict code of conduct, and all accredited hunts must adhere to both that and all legislation. The police should not be trying to impose unjustified restrictions on a perfectly legal activity.”

Meanwhile, the CA’s Portwin never misses an opportunity to try to convince the public that fox hunters are actually going about legal business. She argued that the hunt is ” involved in perfectly legitimate activities…”

Yet Protect the Wild has reported numerous times of hunts across the country who think the law doesn’t apply to them, and cause chaos on roads and even on railway lines (see here, here, or here, for example).

In December 2021, a specialist crash investigator documented 200 “near misses” and other dangers caused by hunts. The investigator collected numerous evidence over three years, and said that hunts put public safety at risk.

The Independent reported:

“Seventeen cases involved road traffic collisions, nine involved railways, and one meant an airfield had to shut, diverting planes.”

As Protect the Wild has summarised here, police could – but in reality don’t – take more legal action against hunts whose hounds are out of control. Although there is a clause in the Road Traffic Act, making an exemption for hounds who are “in use under proper control for sporting purposes”, this law can easily be challenged. We argue that:

“‘Proper control’ is hard to define, but dogs that are dashing in and out of speeding cars on an A road are not ‘under proper control’. Hunts are registered businesses and should be held legally responsible if one of their dogs causes a road accident involving injury, illness or death.”

On top of all this, the Warwickshire Hunt is in court this week for what West Midlands Sabs says is “their arrogant anti-social road behaviour”. And, of course, the hunt consistently breaks the law by pursuing and killing foxes.

Let’s bring in a true hunting ban

The Warwickshire Hunt’s antics are a good example of why the Hunting Act needs scrapping, and a completely new law needs putting in place. If the law was clear, police wouldn’t need to issue hunts with CPNs. Because if hunts were truly acting within the law, the hounds would be following an artifically-laid trail, and would have no need to go anywhere near roads.

Protect the Wild is campaigning for the government to implement a true ban and bring in a Hunting of Mammals Bill. Until this happens, hunts will continue to break the law by killing wild mammals under the guise of ‘trail hunting’, using loopholes and exemptions in the Hunting Act to evade prosecution.


Read more about our Hunting of Mammals Bill here, and sign our petition for a proper hunting ban here.

West Midland Hunt Saboteurs is on the ground, capturing the Warwickshire Hunt’s illegalities. Donate to the group here.