How Ingrained is Hunting on our Society Given Police are Members of Criminal Gangs?

Of course, today’s opinion rant comes from news Wiltshire Police have promoted officer Cheryl Knight to the rural crimes department despite allegedly being a member of the Beaufort Hunt and has previously ridden with the notorious Avon Vale Hunt. The public outrage of such has spawned a planned protest on 5th March at Devizes Police HQ….

It should hardly come as a shock to those who follow social media of anti-hunt groups like Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs, as we’ve seen many attempts by hunters to infiltrate the police, and video evidence of police deliberately being awkward with sabs by blocking paths and siding with hunters. Recently we’ve seen it with another hunt member PC, Laura Hughes who turned a blind eye when hunters attacked protesters at Lacock’s Boxing Day meet. And at top level, with former Avon Vale huntsmaster Jonathan Seed defunct from the PCC election and current PCC Phillip Wilkinson’s open derogatory remarks about anti-hunt protesters.

But if bent cops sounds like something from an American thriller movie, no one’s as bold to suggest all Wiltshire Police support hunting. It’s a huge organisation employing many, therefore fair to assume the bad eggs are a minority.

However, their official reaction to the outrage this news has caused, defending Cheryl Knight and warning protesters they will be “seeking independent guidance from other agencies to ensure the protest is in line with those peaceful and lawful requirements and to ensure the Devizes community is not adversely impacted,” borders retaliation to public outcry. Reading between the lines, anyone so much as sneezes at the protest and they’ll shut it down. Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs stressed to me, “that’s how we read it too. Well, if they want even more bad publicity…”

It causes me to ponder just how far this rabbit hole goes; how ingrained by the traditions of hunting is this in our society? You may not stop to consider it while watching a children’s cartoon with anthropomorphised characters whereby the fox is nearly always portrayed as a “baddie,” or dining in a local pub, where your dinner is served on a pictorial plate adorned with a scenic landscape and a fox hunt in progress, or similarly on a painting on the wall, but in this glorification of the blood sport, these connotations of the fox spelling trouble, is it our own psychological Colston statue?

“You cannot erase history,” gammonites remark of the statue debate, and I retort with “poppycock!” For historical references in literature will always be, but a statue glorifies and celebrates the slave trade, ergo, is counterproductive to progress against racial discrimination. Likewise, the paintings in the pub, the common pub name, The Fox and Hounds, should they be changed? They clearly idealise this barbaric pastime.

My ponderings stem from a Facebook thread this week, by Devizes Town Councillor Chris Greenwood, (yes, the one who blatantly lied about Defra confirming bird flu on the Crammer) on his own general local affairs group, Devizes News. In posting news of Cheryl Knight’s promotion, he stated, “this group will not tolerate any form of detrimental, nor hateful comments associated with this article. The officer concerned has done nothing illegal whatsoever, and their appointment has been with the full approval of Wiltshire Police. Any false accusations or comments will result in the person posting being excluded from the group.”

It was simply too tempting, and inadvertently my reply, “so, why post it then?” saw me promptly barred from the group, along with a handful of others. But seems the temptation was deliberate for no sooner as we were gone, he posted again, boasting, and celebrating, “it was time for a clearout of activists, bigots and those motivated by negativity.”

Quite where the negativity in opposing the promotion of a possible criminal within the governing body supposed to prevent crime is supposed to derive from will forever confound me. Alas, adjoining various comments like a jigsaw, Chris made in this thread might shed some light on why he, like so many others, are so pro-hunting. Unable to respond to one question given by a concerned so -called bigot, Chris took a trip on memory bliss, and waffled a random interminable history of his affection for horse riding. One might assume this was irrelevant, but further on when we were discussing the social media posts of lists of local companies alleged to be in support of the Avon Vale Hunt, he highlighted a sponsorship of a pony club. So, herein lies his justification for supporting hunting; Avon Vale sponsored the club where his fond memories of riding begun. Ergo, he’s reminiscence through rose-tinted specs is clouding his judgment to the reality it’s a bloodthirsty pursuit, and I’d wager is not alone in this view.

I could agree, horse riding is okay by me, but you don’t need to take a pack of bloodhounds along to bludgeon a fox to death to enjoy it, surely? Though I fear it will fall on deaf ears. Hunts have spent decades and countless fortunes I could only dream of, to ensure their brutal activities are ingrained so deep into our society, economy and way of life, the rose-tinted specs wearers will only ever view it as a harmless tradition, because they’re trained to by showers of gold sent their way and into charities and causes.

Ergo, when a clear conflict of interests invades our police, these folk shrug, and state the officer concerned has done nothing illegal. So, given innocent until proven guilty, we should ask Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs if they’ve any proof of the contrary. “Her main association seems to be the Beaufort,” Wiltshire Hunt Saboteurs explained, “that is where most of her hunting images were taken. She also has photos of her at Avon Vale meet, and also photos of her attending beagle meets (hare hunts).”

Besides, the point isn’t whether she has, or hasn’t, the concern lies within her power to sway, ignore, or pervert the cause of justice in such matters she’s so clearly bias in. Does this mean the protest is focused entirely on her promotion, being it would seem there’s other pro-hunting officers?

“At this moment it’s focused on the fact that a fox hunter has been appointed,” they continued, “but I guess the wider issue is who appointed her – and the appalling response they gave. There are other serving officers that have hunted with the Avon vale, which we also oppose, but to be placed into a role like this, particularly in the middle of an investigation by her new team, into the Avon Vale video just is crass beyond belief. It’s a direct breach of the Code of Ethics which Wiltshire Police are refusing to address.”

We live now in the aftermath of the national media exposure of video evidence proving The Avon Vale Hunt illegally fox hunted, its impact is this undeniable proof you’d have thought would be a catalyst to change, but this latest outcry suggests otherwise.

All my meanderings seem to return to a same point, the point in the video where they successfully pulled the fox out from the dig and threw it to the hounds, and one young hunter shrieks with delight like a little girl getting a pony for Christmas! If hunting was to cull a pest, that’s clearly in past, there’s few foxes left in the countryside, and the shrill of delight reverbs the acknowledgement, is symbolic that this is done purely for fun, the thrill. You don’t see an insect exterminator cry with joy when he clears your home of ants!

So, if you support this in any way, do you deserve to be called out for it regardless of how little your association with the hunts may’ve been formed upon, excusable by ignorance to the notion they were definitely killing wildlife, until now?

Yet while many companies and organisations have found themselves having to publish statements attempting to defuse their association with Avon Vale, or hunting in general, Wiltshire Police seem none too fussed, rather promoting officer Cheryl Knight to the rural crime unit, and have defended their decision to maintain the PC in the role. Others listed, such as ice cream cafe, The Rowdey Cow were quick to announce their association was only to vendor at one of their events, and it’s not just because they make exceptional ice cream, I’m willing to forgive that(!) rather sigh, that’s just business.

The Rowdy Cow I trust has sufficient trade to do without the association now, and hope they do. The last thing anyone wishes by way of boycotting businesses loosely associated with the hunts, is to bring any more damage on our rural economy. Yet Wadworth’s only line of defence seemed to be their association was “historic.” Should we forgive that too, because of the passage of time? Our councillor Greenwood on his pro-hunting rant seemed to suggest this, that the images of Knight hunting was the stuff of ancient history, leading me to ponder how old is she? From recent photos she looks late twenties, so it could only have been after 2004, when the Hunting Act was introduced, not so long ago for us old-timers, Chris!

Forgiveness only ever seems to be when the boot fits. The public don’t seem too keen to forgive Shamima Begum anytime soon, but views Piers Morgan as this cheeky chappie with a penchant for a few offensive comments, rather than the bastard who wrecked a teenage girl’s murder inquiry by hacking her phone. He took personal monetary gain over the life of a child, for Heaven’s sake, but hey, he’s on the tele. I like to call this the “Jimmy Saville Effect,” he raised these incredible amounts of money for charity, so should he be forgiven for paedophilia, necrophilia, and whatever other sick fetishes he performed? Equally, should we forgive hunters if their hunting is all in the past?

I believe this is simply another desperate excuse from pro-hunting lobbies. It matters not if or when Knight hunted, only that she is in support of hunting. To suggest her affiliation with the hunt wouldn’t affect her ability to carry out the role of a rural crime officer is completely and utterly ludicrous. The public know this, it’s hardly rocket science, and the public have the right to voice their outrage at this poor decision. After all, we do pay for the police, they are governed by law, but paid for by the taxpayer. Wiltshire Police make many a statement about building a rapport with the public and how they “serve them,” surely this is the ideal opportunity to prove this ethos right?

But it’s a small piece of a larger puzzle. Akin to the suffragette movement, anti-hunting will look blindly obvious to future generations if we can wash away this ingrained perception. The police’s involvement in watching over so-called trail hunts will be viewed as the massive waste of resources they clearly are, for if hunt organisations cannot be trusted the only solution is to ban them, and eradicate this insane affiliation to blood sports once and for all.

So, to people who share Chris Greenwood’s obsolete and atrocious opinions and see fit to censor opposing views, I say you’re foolish to think you can silence me. Not one to boast stats, but Devizine is read by the number of members in your petty group times a thousand. In a media war you’re the Gassworks Gang and I’m the American military! Accept the majority are anti-hunt, and will share this beyond way Facebook, until its long out of my control, folk will rightfully gather to sound their disgust at this barbaric activity, and the authorities which permit it to continue despite the indisputable evidence.

Their days are numbered, if we throw off our ingrained bigotry and accept it, that is quite possible. It wouldn’t hurt to show your humane side. And in saying that, no one wishes to send Cheryl Knight to the stocks, only to advise she is moved to a department free from her bias. So patently obvious it’s staring everyone in face and making them angry enough to have to spell it out by reacting on offensive social media posts, with disregards to the idea they’ll be futility chastised by a power-tripping would-be tinpot dictator! Knockers I say unto thee, Devizes News indeed, the bastard son of GB News?! Lest we forget come local election time.


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