This relates to

Mr Thomas H Appleby of Greater Manchester (“Mr Appleby”)^

The Rt Hon Andrew Murray Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester (“Mr Burnham”)

His assistant, Mr Charles Wosu (“Mr Wosu”)

Naturewatch Foundation

Former Chief Constable Ian Hopkins QPM (“Mr Hopkins”) of Greater Manchester Police (“GMP”)

Hillside Animal Sanctuary, based near Norwich

The Badger Trust

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

The Charity Commission

(The above-named are listed in the order in which they are mentioned below.)

^ Mr Appleby is the proprietor of this website but we, the operators, have ensured that this does not affect the fairness of the article.

Further 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.

One 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.)

At that time, GMP had no wildlife officers.  Eventually, several part-time voluntary ones were appointed.

Another 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”.

In 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):


Dear Mr Hopkins

You 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:

The 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, 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:

"GMP 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 and and leaves readers to make their own judgements."

I 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.

I am proprietor of and certify that all copies thereon, of letters to and from the RSPCA, are true copies.

I 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:

"GMP 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."

I 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.

I 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.

Volunteers 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.)

Yours sincerely

Thomas H Appleby

Having 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):


Dear Mr Hopkins

I have still not received anything from you, or anyone acting on your behalf, in relation to my e-mail of 15 February 2019.

I sent it to, which I am using again but it appears that you also have another e-mail address, viz., 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.

Yours sincerely

Thomas H Appleby

Eventually, on 26 July 2019, he received an email thus from the Chief Constable's Office:

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.

Kind regards

Kathleen Carter

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:


Dear Mr Hopkins

Animal Welfare

I attach, for you to verify, a print of every item listed below.  

As you will see, I have signed every page for identification.  

I have received nothing further from you or anyone acting on your behalf.

Should you wish to respond, please do so by Recorded Delivery.  

Yours sincerely  

Thomas H Appleby
He received a reply thus, dated 29 January 2020:

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. 

Kind regards  

K Carter

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:

Your Ref: CCS0024098

Dear Mr Hopkins

Animal Welfare

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.

Yours sincerely

Thomas H Appleby

cc Mr Wosu

The Royal Mail website shows that it was delivered the next day.

Mr Appleby has still received nothing further from GMP.

He comments as follows:

Mr 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.

In 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.


This replaces a shorter addendum published on 10 May 2021.

The above is as published on 6 October 2020 with minor amendments.

We intended to publish an addendum before the Mayoral Election, which took place on 6 May 2021, but a technical problem caused a delay.  We apologise.  Mr Burnham was re-elected but we are not implying that any other candidate would have been better overall.  

On 18 December 2020, GMP announced that Mr Hopkins had resigned!  Although he claimed to have done so because of illness, it soon became evident that he had been responsible for scandalous maladministration of another type, namely failures to record many thousands of crimes. 
Prominent people criticised Mr Burnham in relation to the scandal.  lt was covered extensively by the BBC and other media organisations and there is no need to repeat the details here.
However, Mr Burnham had been far more seriously at fault than was evident from the failures of GMP to record crimes.  He had known, or should have known, in May 2019, that Mr Hopkins was responsible for maladministration as described above.  Abundant evidence of further maladministration by GMP had then become available to Mr Burnham during the ensuing months, partly because Mr Appleby had drawn further correspondence to his attention through Mr Wosu and partly because of an unrelated matter, namely that, in Autumn 2019, maladministration by GMP had delayed the public inquiry into the explosion in 2017 at the Manchester Arena.  (The inquiry is still continuing.)

We do not blame Mr Wosu for any problem.  

Remember the purpose of this website.  It is not to expose carelessness, laziness or incompetence, although it does so incidentally.