Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Fighting Back…

Christopher Booker’s column in the ‘Telegraph’ lays into the police and RSPCA:
Norris Atthey is a retired military policeman who for some years has been trying to defend one of the last pockets of red squirrels left in England… After trapping them, Mr Atthey has quite legally shot hundreds with an air pistol, very much more humane than hitting them over the head in a sack, as Natural England and other wildlife bodies prefer.
And so Mr Atthey was a little annoyed to read his morning paper to find out what other (presumed) wildlife defenders had been up to….
Mr Atthey was outraged when a Burton window cleaner was recently given a criminal record and lost £1,547 in costs after being prosecuted by the RSPCA for drowning a grey squirrel. He publicly challenged the charity by announcing that he had drowned one too.
Did they sense a trap, and stay safe in their holes?

Reader, they did not:
The ever-zealous RSPCA rose to the bait, knocking on his door to demand an interview. He responded that he had no more to say, beyond his published statement.
And there it would have ended, except….
Next morning, the RSPCA official returned, summoning two policemen to arrest Mr Atthey for “causing unnecessary suffering to an animal”.
I’m surprised the police were so co-operative, given that reciprocal assistance is so often not forthcoming…

But it was more than just assistance they got:
He was handcuffed and taken to the police station at Bedlington, some miles away, where he was held for nine hours in the cells. Eventually he was interrogated for an hour by an RSPCA official, with a policeman standing mutely by, before being released.
Without charge? It seems so. No charge is mentioned.

And isn’t it a little surprising that the police take no part at all in the interview?

Christopher Booker certainly thinks so:
Why was Mr Atthey arrested on the orders of the RSPCA? Why was he handcuffed, and imprisoned for nine hours? When I put this to Northumbria police, they replied that “the RSPCA is leading this investigation” and that “the arrested man remained with police until suitable arrangements were in place for an interview to take place”.
What? Seriously?
This provokes much wider questions, also raised by other cases reported in this column, such as that of Alan Brough, who was held by Carlisle police for six hours while the RSPCA took away his 90 fell ponies, and who immediately went and hanged himself.
Another case that hasn’t got half the publicity it deserved…
The RSPCA, that once-admirable charity, now often seems to pursue animal-lovers through the courts simply to win the publicity that keeps its £115 million a year in donations rolling in.
Which, as with all charities that grow too big, seems sadly inevitable.

But it’s the shameful police action here that’s all the more surprising:
And why do the police now regard themselves as the charity’s enforcement wing? What an admission from Northumbria police that they seek to justify holding a 66-year old man of impeccable character for nine hours by saying “the RSPCA is leading this investigation”. When did Parliament empower RSPCA officials (all ordinary members of the public) to order our police around like this?
Good questions.

Mr Atthey seems determined to find out:

Just to let supporters know the latest.Having already taken expert advice i have formally lodged an official complaint to Professional Standards of Northumbria Police for unlawful arrest and imprisonment.Have also complained of improper use of police premises by permitting someone of no standing ( RSPCA) to lead an interrogation.Have also requested the Inspecorate of Constabulary to investigate whether correct procedures have been adopted in relation to guidelines issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers.in assisting the RSPCA.I have to stress that I am absolutely delighted that the RSPCA have taken the bait.it is a bonus that the Police have responded in the manner they have.I am now considering setting up another group for endangered species. Honest, law abiding, decent respectable members of society. It is obvious that the police do not see themselves as serving society.
Can’t really argue with his conclusions, can we?

Update: Subrosa asks questions too...


microdave said...

You ought to edit the first paragraph - it reads as if he was shooting RED squirrels, not the more common greys which are their main threat.

But otherwise another sad reflection on a once useful organisation.

I wonder what's going to happen to the evil bitch who was caught on camera dumping a cat in a wheelie bin? Her identity is now known and:

"The RSPCA are leading an investigation into the incident and will be interviewing the woman shortly."

"Coventry Police are supporting this investigation and urge the public to leave the matter to be dealt with correctly by the authorities."

"Coventry Police have not arrested the woman because she has not committed a criminal offence."


W/V "acharity" Now THAT'S spooky... I've taken a screenshot.

Mark Wadsworth said...

This country needs more people like Mr Atthey!!

I wish him the best of.

John said...

"Which, as with all charities that grow too big, seems sadly inevitable."

Can I just pick you up on that? The RNLI is a real charity and they are an inspiration
Other than that, keep up the good work, etc.

Mike said...

mmmmmm, a woman, a cat and a wheelie bin no have a date with celebrity. maybe not so much the wheelie bin but the cat and the woman are certainly climbing the dizzy hights of popularity wanted or not.

I suspect the police will have thier hand forced soon as the woman will surly have to be guilty of something or reinvent herself to aviod the growing call for some kind of natural justice.

Julia, if while bieng stroked you were placed in a bin what would you expect the police and/or the public to do with your captor?

Shlomo said...

Christopher Brooker? Been at the sherry again this morning, have we? ;-)

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

I wonder how long the fellow in Croydon was detained before receiving his caution for putting a bloke in hospital?

Anonymouslemming said...

So lemme get this straight... Grey squirrels are an acknowledged pest and can be shot under the General licence with an airgun.

They are an invader and do untold damage to native species.

But killing them gets you arrested and your DNA on file.

Are this government mental? Do they not see that they will NEVER manage to get the public involved in society if they keep arresting them for doing the right thing ?

microdave said...

@ John - agree with you regarding the RNLI. I contribute a small sum each year, and I'm not even a sailor..
I believe they refuse government money because they don't want to be told how to do their job.

subrosa said...

Well said Julia and with updated information too.

Here is Scotland the government has grey squirrel prevention officers manning the border (I kid you not). We don't want them invading Scotland. I actually have had a family, or a different family, resident around here for years. Never a day goes past without seeing all of them at this time of year and at least one a day during the colder months.

A wee message to Shlomo. A little sherry at any time of day is good for the digestion. Some newspapers articles are difficult to digest you know. :)

Mike said...

RNLI - good, nay, very, very good

Squirrels red or grey - qute but with little or no reason can and will be eaten preferably killed, prepared and cooked first

Women who put cats in bins - the jury is out but I think our leader Julia must have an opinion on this.....

Anonymous said...

If you have watched the video of the woman with the cat, it appears that she was talking to the cat which started to follow her.

She needed to prevent this or the cat would get lost.

The wheelie bins had been emptied, so people were doing to check to see their rubbish was gone, and/or start putting more in within a few hours at most.

So putting the cat in the bin ensured it did not get lost and left it where it was going to be found and released very quickly - as indeed happened.

Mike said...

I meant to say squirrels are cute, not quite sure what a qute squirrel is but there it is anywho

Mike said...

I watched the video and cleary saw an old sick or daft or both woman grab a cat, throw it in a bin then run away

is anyone else brave enough to come up with an excuse?

Mike said...

for the cats best intrests indeed! Anon, your the mad old lady in the vid, arn't ya

microdave said...

@ Anon 17:11 - very funny! You were joking.................weren't you??

Jiks said...

Mr Atthey's approach is exactly the right one to take IMO to drag these bastards down.

Well done, sir.

MTG said...

It is not so much that our police have lost the plot as much as we lost any control over their actions.

This particular episode exudes the subtle odour of a back scratching fraternity. Behind these scenes, police officers are undoubtedly enjoying some kind of benefit in return for abuses of unaccountable power.

Tomorrow we will comment upon a different case of abuse and we discuss new symptoms of the same disease.

JuliaM said...

"You ought to edit the first paragraph - it reads as if he was shooting RED squirrels, not the more common greys which are their main threat."

Whoops! That was my conflating of two paras.

"The RNLI is a real charity and they are an inspiration"

Yes, that's certainly true. One of the few I give money to. And as long as they continue to refuse government money, as microdave points out, I'll continue to do so...

"Christopher Brooker? Been at the sherry again this morning, have we? "

Whoops again! Fixed :)

"Are this government mental?"

This one? Schizophrenic, I'll be bound...

"So putting the cat in the bin ensured it did not get lost..."

Are you going to post this bizarre theory on every blog mentioning the case? You're going to be busy!

"This particular episode exudes the subtle odour of a back scratching fraternity."


Furor Teutonicus said...


I once drowned a rhinoceros in the West Kirby boating lake for shitting big style on my collection of triffids....wanna "do me" for it?