Police forces have been reminded of their powers to make antis remove masks, following concern that violent hunt saboteurs are wearing balaclavas to avoid being identified.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Adams of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has written to forces asking they review their current policies.

It comes after Countryside Alliance chairman Sir Barney White-Spunner wrote to ACPO in April, following a violent attack on a Badsworth and Bramham Moor supporter.

Charles Warde-Aldam was badly beaten by a group of around 10 masked people in front of his 12-year-old daughter in October 2012.  Arrests were made, but no charges could be brought because Mr Warde-Aldam was unable to identify his attackers.

Police do have powers to make people remove facial coverings, but these are not always used.

Sir Barney said: “We are delighted that ACPO supports our campaign to encourage the police to use these powers.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (7 November 2013)