David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, issued a statement on Monday, in which he said: “I am aware of the incident which took place during a trail hunt in the Huxley area this weekend and have been contacted by a range of residents and their representatives expressing their concerns.”
Mr Keane continued: “The investigation of allegations related to any illegal activity, including those of illegal hunting, is the responsibility of the acting chief constable and the officers and staff under her command.”
He added: “The constabulary is aware of the allegations and in my role as your police and crime commissioner in holding the chief constable to account, I will be seeking an overview of the investigation and any outcomes from those leading it.
“The acting chief constable is fully aware of my expectation that such incidents are thoroughly and robustly investigated.
“I would also like to remind Cheshire residents that following the independent review I commissioned into illegal hunting in Cheshire, I will be holding a scrutiny meeting in public next month to discuss the outcomes of this review and the subsequent action plan to ensure Cheshire Constabulary is upholding its responsibilities under the Hunting Act 2004.
“In the meantime, I would urge anyone who has evidence of any criminal activity relating to illegal hunting to contact Cheshire Police.”
Mr Keane made public the findings of an independent review into hunting across Cheshire just over a month ago.
The review was commissioned following concerns raised in relation to the effectiveness of Cheshire Constabulary’s policing of hunting activities.
The review sought to gather the views of representatives from both the pro- and anti-hunt community, as well as those of local businesses.
Upon publication of the review, Mr Keane said: “Whilst Cheshire Constabulary is seen to be effective in how it deals with some elements of hunting issues, it is also important to recognise that Cheshire has not had any successful prosecutions regarding the Hunting Act; which appears, given the review’s findings, to be at odds with the national picture.”
He said: “In addition, it is without doubt that there remains a perception by some members of the public that the constabulary is not effectively addressing the issue of potential illegal hunting.
“The review outlines 11 clear recommendations for the constabulary to consider and as police and crime commissioner I will be looking to our police service to implement these to improve the service they provide to local residents.”
Mr Keane said he will be speaking with Cheshire MPs to explore how such legislative change can be progressed through parliament.
The report has been published in full on the Cheshire PCC website.
Mr Keane has confirmed that a meeting with the constabulary will be held in public in February, although a date has not yet been confirmed to us.