Hunts in the Thames Valley area are being urged to “monitor the monitors”, following a second meeting between the Countryside Alliance (CA) and Thames Valley Police (TVP).

“The next season will be the most difficult one we have had under the Hunting Act — especially in that part of the world,” said CA spokesman Tim Bonner.

Activists are constantly pushing legal boundaries, but if we want police to act, we’re best placed to get the evidence.

“No one wants to do it, but we can’t sit back and complain and do nothing more.”

The CA and Masters of Foxhounds Association (MFHA) requested meetings with TVP following the alleged murder of Warwickshire hunt supporter Trevor Morse in March, an incident to which Midlands-based animal rights group Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA) has been linked.

At a second meeting on 7 May between police chiefs and CA chairman Kate Hoey and chief executive Simon Hart, police admitted concerns about the breakdown in their relationship with the rural community.

Assistant chief constable Brian Langston agreed to advise POWA against attending hunts before and during the trial of Bryan Griffiths for Mr Morse’s murder.

In a letter sent out last week to hunts, Mr Bonner and MFHA director Alastair Jackson stated: “We made clear [to police] our concerns about the POWA activists, and TVP’s response.

“The police are very aware that Trevor’s death and the involvement of POWA with hard core animal rights activists has changed the [hunt monitoring] situation significantly.”

ACC Brian Langston said: “The policing of hunts is a sensitive issue, and I would like to offer my reassurance that we will remain even-handed and professional.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (21 May, ’09)