Thomas H Appleby of Greater Manchester (“Mr Appleby”)^
Rt Hon Andrew Murray Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester (“Mr
assistant, Mr Charles Wosu (“Mr Wosu”)
Constable Ian Hopkins QPM (“Mr Hopkins”) of Greater Manchester
Animal Sanctuary, based near Norwich
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)
above-named are listed in the order in which they are mentioned
Mr Appleby is the proprietor of this website but we, the operators,
have ensured that this does not affect the fairness of the article.
to the election, in May 2017, of Mr Burnham as the first Mayor of
Greater Manchester, Mr Appleby began to correspond with his office in
relation to policing issues relevant to protection of animals. (Mr
Burnham's powers in relation to policing had replaced those of the
Police and Crime Commissioner, whose post had been abolished.) Most
communications to Mr Appleby from Mr Burnham's office have been from
Mr Wosu, on Mr Burnham's behalf.
of Mr Appleby's concerns was that police forces in Greater Manchester
and other counties were probably not taking reasonable steps to
enforce the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, the main purpose of which
was to prevent terribly cruel “sport”. He drew attention to
information from Naturewatch Foundation that, despite evidence that
several hundred crimes under the Act were being committed per year,
the Crown Prosecution Service had used it in only 7 court cases in
2016. (This matter was also raised with elected representatives by
other people, in Greater Manchester and other counties.)
that time, GMP had no wildlife officers. Eventually, several
ones were appointed.
issue raised by Mr Appleby related to the GMP website but Mr Wosu
stated that it did not “fall under the authority of the Mayor”.
Mr Appleby's opinion, every police website should be subject to
amendment by a locally elected person or committee. (This would
not affect the right of the Chief Constable, or anyone else, in a
personal capacity, to publicly comment on any matter, subject to the
laws on privacy, defamation etc.)
On 15 February 2019, Mr Appleby sent Mr Hopkins an email as follows (with copies to Naturewatch Foundation, Hilllside Animal Sanctuary, The Badger Trust and Mr Wosu):
may be aware of my correspondence with Mr Charles Wosu, who acts on
behalf of the Mayor. In an e-mail of 30 January 2019, he stated “The
GMP website ... does not fall under the authority of the Mayor.” I
am consequently raising the following matters with you:
website mentions the RSPCA, which does useful work but also does
harm. It lacks credibility and transparency. By describing it as
“the UK's leading animal welfare charity” (the meaning of which
is unclear) and providing a link to its website, without mentioning
the fact that it has been publicly criticised in various ways,
you are giving the false impression that it is credible and hence
casting doubt on your own credibility, as you would if you were a
physicist sharing a platform with Donald Trump. I
refer to www.hillside.org.uk,
www.cronies.org.uk and the
article headed “Charity Commission warns RSPCA over payout to
former chief” in The Guardian on 22 August 2018. The GMP website,
as it is, could prompt well-intentioned but ill-informed people to
give money to the RSPCA instead of to more deserving charities. I
suggest that you remove the phrase “the UK's leading animal welfare
charity” and add the following:
does not imply general approval of the behaviour of the RSPCA, some
aspects of which have been publicly criticised. GMP has no reason,
at least at present, to comment on the criticisms and, of course, is
not responsible for the contents of newspapers or external websites
but it draws readers' attention to the article headed “Charity
Commission warns RSPCA over payout to former chief” published in
The Guardian on 22 August 2018 and to the relevant parts of
leaves readers to make their own judgements."
am not implying that I agree with every policy of Hillside Animal
Sanctuary but, having been in communication with it almost since it
was founded, I have never had grounds to doubt the truth of any
allegation it has published. It has an excellent record of
undercover reporting and, in particular, has exposed serious neglect
of animals in premises supposedly under RSPCA supervision.
am proprietor of www.cronies.org.uk
and certify that all copies thereon, of letters to and from the
RSPCA, are true copies.
refer to the e-mail I received (in response to one I had sent), from
your assistant Ms R Bigland, on 28 June 2018, headed “FREEDOM
OF INFORMATION REQUEST REFERENCE NO: GSA 1570/18”, which
contained the following:
now has several wildlife officers around the force. The role is a
voluntary one and not a full time position. Various appropriate
training courses are being arranged and officers will go on them in
due course, thus far none of the officers have received any training
in relation to badgers."
hope that you are already aware that an accredited training course
for police officers, in relation to cruelty to badgers, has been
developed jointly by Naturewatch Foundation and The Badger Trust. I
suggest that you mention this on the website.
also suggest that you add to the website, subject to their consent,
the names and ranks of the officers, summaries of the training they
have received in relation to wildlife crime and news of any
prosecutions in which they have been involved.
are being relied on to do important work which should be done by paid
public employees but I blame the relevant elected politicians, not
you, for this. (No party represented in Parliament has even a fairly
good overall record on animal welfare.)
Thomas H Appleby
received no response, he sent an email thus on 21 May 2019 (again,
with copies to Naturewatch Foundation, Hillside Animal Sanctuary, The
Badger Trust and Mr Wosu):
/ YOUR WEBSITE
I have still not received anything from you, or anyone acting on your behalf, in relation to my e-mail of 15 February 2019.
sent it to email@example.com, which I am using
again but it appears that you also have another e-mail
address, viz. Chief.firstname.lastname@example.org, to which I am sending a
copy of this. For your convenience, I shall also shortly forward to
it a copy of my e-mail of 15 February 2019.
Incidentally, Badger Persecution Police Training was originally funded partly by Naturewatch Foundation and partly by The Badger Trust but, since January 2019, it has been funded solely by The Badger Trust. However, this change will not affect the content.
Thomas H Appleby
on 26 July 2019, he received an email thus from the Chief Constable's
Good Afternoon Mr Appleby
I refer to the email you sent to the Chief Constable’s office on 15/02/2019, and your further email sent on 21/05/2019.
Firstly I apologise that you did not receive an acknowledgement to your emails. I can confirm that the matter is being dealt with by the Corporate Communications Department and I have been in touch with them requesting they provide you with a response as soon as possible.
I am sorry for the delay you have had to endure and assure you the matter will be monitored by this office and you will be contacted in due course.
Your reference number is CCS0023868.
Chief Constable’s Office
Having received nothing further from any Department of GMP, he sent Mr Hopkins a letter thus on 25 January 2020, with attachments as listed:
BY RECORDED DELIVERY
I attach, for you to verify, a print of every item listed below.
Re: Animal Welfare
Dear Mr Appleby
On behalf of the Chief Constable, I acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated 25th January 2020.
I am sorry to hear that you have not received a response to your previous correspondence.
I can confirm a response was forwarded to the Mayor's office who had contacted this office on your behalf and I was of the impression that they were communicating with you.
I have forwarded your correspondence to the Corporate Communications Department asking them to contact you directly with a written response.
This office will continue to monitor the matter and I apologise once again for the delay and the frustration it must have caused you.
Your reference number remains CCS0024098.
Chief Constable's Office
Having again received nothing further from any Department of GMP, he sent Mr Hopkins a letter thus on 25 August 2020:
Dear Mr Hopkins
Further to the letter of 29 January 2020 sent on your behalf by Ms K Carter, I have still received nothing from the Corporate Communications Department and, with reference to the assertion "This office will continue to monitor the matter ..." I have received nothing from your office or any other Department of GMP since that date.
However, I have obtained, from the Mayor's assistant, Mr Wosu, a copy of (inter alia) every communication from GMP to the Mayor's office in connection with my e-mail of 15 February 2019 to you. No such communication contains a substantive response to that e-mail. In particular, no such communication gives any explanation for the continued absence from your website of anything to the effect that anyone has criticised the RSPCA.
You have wasted police time, Mr Wosu's time and my time but, far more importantly, you have, for no good reason, failed to have a paragraph, as I suggested, published on your website, in the interests of animals.
My suggestions were based not only on ethics. It could be argued that you have legal duties to take reasonable steps, at minimal costs, to prevent offences against animals and that, in particular, by having the paragraph published on your website, you would probably deter people from giving money to the RSPCA (which would be quite likely to misuse it) and prompt them to use it instead to support, for example, undercover surveillance of farm animals by staff of Hillside Animal Sanctuary and / or work by Naturewatch Foundation to prevent offences against wild animals.
Should you wish to respond, please do so by Rcorded Delivery.
Thomas H Appleby
cc Mr Wosu
Royal Mail website shows that it was delivered the next day.
Mr Appleby has still received nothing further from GMP.
comments as follows:
Hopkins' performance has been very poor. Ms Carter probably feels
like Donald Trump's secretary.
Mr Burnham, mainly through Mr Wosu, has helped me by providing information but I have been disappointed by his failures to publicly comment on important issues relevant to his remit as Mayor.
particular, an e-mail I sent Mr Wosu on 15 July 2019 contained the
following: “... he (Mr Burnham) is entitled to honestly state that
he is, or is not, satisfied with the GMP website. Is he?” but I never received the answer.
Mr Burnham should do more to protect animals and prevent misuse of money. For example, given that the RSPCA has a remit relevant to policing and is mentioned on the GMP website, he should publish honest comments, properly based on evidence, on its acts and omissions.