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Statement about the badger cull in Gloucestershire

“I was disappointed when I heard Owen Paterson's statement to the House of Commons earlier today. If a further extension is applied for and granted I feel it may create an unhelpful situation in Gloucestershire.

The Constabulary has put a tremendous amount of effort into its policing operation in response to the cull to ensure it has been – and continues to be – even-handed, impartial and operationally independent. Responding to the many and diverse needs of people, whatever their involvement and views about the cull, has been a severe challenge and one I believe they have risen to in the best traditions of the service. Expecting them to continue beyond the initial six week period is asking a great deal, even though I am sure they will respond accordingly.

My concern is that the cull operators are feeling the pressure and may become more desperate in their attempts to shoot their quota of badgers while the people opposed to the cull are getting equally frustrated, all of which adds up to an unhelpful situation.

I know we have to wait for an announcement from Defra about any plans for Gloucestershire but I have made my concerns and unease at any possible extension known to the Home Office today.

I have to consider and ensure safe and sustainable communities in Gloucestershire. I am committed to less crime, more peace and good order and any extension to what has been such a divisive issue in the county is certainly not going to help us achieve that.”

Posted on Friday 25th October 2013
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