3:16pm Monday 7th April 2014
GLOUCESTERSHIRE’S PCC Martin Surl has said policing the badger cull for a second year will be 'challenging' for the constabulary.
In a statement to the Commons on Thursday, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said the although plans to expand the cull to other areas has been abandoned, it will be continued in both the county and Somerset.
Dozens of officers were involved with Operation Themis last year, the forces's reaction to the cull, and training has begun to deal with several scenarios which could occur during this year's cull.
According to Mr Surl the estimated cost of policing the cull in Gloucestershire last year was £1.7 million.
Financially the cost should not affect policing in Gloucestershire as the Police Minister has promised that central government will cover the cost of any cull response.
“We knew the proposal was for a pilot badger cull over four years so this announcement comes as no great surprise," said Mr Surl.
“However, to those who failed to get the message last time, it is worth repeating that the police are not responsible for the cull itself, though it will fall to them to uphold the law.
"That means defending the right to free speech and protest whilst ensuring people are able to go about their lawful business.
“Once again the top priority will be safeguarding the public at all times and the responsibility for achieving that on a day to day basis rests with the Chief Constable.
“We know from our experience last year the continuation of the trial will be a challenging time for the Constabulary.
"To see what lessons can be learned I plan to question senior officers involved in the operation during a live web cast next month.
“As soon as the date, time and location are confirmed I will make the information available to the public so that as many people as possible can watch online.”
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