12 Feb 2016
Animal rights groups have launched a petition demanding Pc Sharon Roscoe is removed from wildlife crime duties over what they claim is a conflict of interest
SWNS Police officer PC Sharon Roscoe, who is responsible for investigating illegal fox hunting is coming under pressure to quit over claims she regularly goes hunting
A police officer responsible for investigating illegal fox hunting is coming under pressure to quit – over claims she regularly goes HUNTING.
Pc Sharon Roscoe is a wildlife officer for Leicestershire Police and part of her role is to probe allegations of illegal fox hunting, trapping animals, game poaching and badger baiting.
But it has emerged Pc Roscoe, 46, is also a keen member of the Duke of Rutland’s Belvoir Hunt in Lincolnshire.
In December, the hunt was slammed by animal rights groups after a video emerged of a dehydrated fox which was said to have been held captive for two days in an outbuilding.
The League Against Cruel Sports claimed the animal was found in a building on the Buckminster Estate hours before the Belvirr Hunt were due to meet.
The Hunt Saboteurs Association has now launched a petition demanding Pc Roscoe is forced to quit, claiming she has a conflict of interests.
More than 2,700 people have signed the petition and campaigners have also written to Chief Constable Simon Cole and Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader calling for her to be removed from her post.
The letter reads: "Pc Sharon Roscoe rides regularly with the Belvoir Hunt, whilst simultaneously having responsibility for wildlife and rural crimes within Leicestershire.
"We feel these two positions are completely untenable."
Campaigners claim she is in breach of the Police Regulations 2003 which forbids officers from activities which may compromise their impartiality.
The letter goes on: "A member of a police force shall at all times abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of his duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression among members of the public that it may so interfere.
"We would therefore ask that you remove Pc Roscoe from her current role and assign her to alternative duties.
"We would also ask that you also ask that you also consider membership of any pro or anti-hunting, fishing, shooting or other field sports associations when making further appointments to this and similar roles."
A Facebook campaign calling on Pc Roscoe to resign has received mixed reactions.
Peter Meehan posted: "How can she run the hunt and then look after nature. That is two-faced. The chief constable should remove her immediately."
Meanwhile Louise Kennedy wrote: "I don’t see why this should necessarily be a conflict. Could she not be someone who just enjoys a good gallop with a load of other horse-people?"
Leicestershire Police today gave their backing to Pc Roscoe.
A force spokeswoman said: "All police officers and staff are expected to carry out their duties with fairness and impartiality in line with our national Code of Ethics.
"Any officers who see the law being broken are expected to take action whether they are on or off duty.
"National guidance around hunting does not prevent officers from taking part in legal and lawful hunt activities outside of work."
Lee Moon, spokesman for the national branch of the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said: "Leicestershire Police need to take a serious look at their procedures when it comes to employing people in these positions."
North West Hunt Saboteurs Association
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Direct Action Against All Forms of bloodsports