Police Urged To Learn Lessons After Wrongful Arrests

Out-Of-Court Settlement Negotiated With Derbyshire Constabulary

07.09.2009

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has urged the Police to learn from their mistakes after eleven peaceful anti-hunt protestors were wrongfully arrested, imprisoned, and assaulted by members of Derbyshire Constabulary – despite members of the hunt admitting they were no trouble.

The protestors, from the Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA), were chased and arrested before each protestor was handcuffed to another and forced to walk across several fields. They were harmlessly following a few fields behind the Meynell and South Staffordshire hunt in January last year.

As a result of these wrongful arrests Irwin Mitchell negotiated an out-of-court settlement with Derbyshire Constabulary, for a combined total compensation of £38,300. The Police force has also agreed to destroy any new fingerprints, DNA records and photographs of seven of the protestors from the Police National Computer.

Despite members of the hunt admitting that the protestors were no trouble and there was no confrontation, several Police vehicles and a Police helicopter turned up at the Hunt before formally arresting the protestors and taking them into custody at Derby Police Station.

All 11 of the protestors were held in cells overnight, and then interviewed and released on bail the following day. No charges were brought against any of them.

One of the protestors, Sarah Lloyd, from Nottingham, who received £3,500 in damages, said: “Although I am very pleased with the outcome of our claim, the compensation in no way exonerates the Police, I hope that they have learnt from their actions.

“Hunting with hounds is illegal yet many hunts are exploiting loopholes in the law to pursue their slaughter in the name of sport. As Hunt Saboteurs, we will always intervene, using non-violent tactics to save the lives of hunted animals, and we will never be deterred by the threat of heavy handed policing.”

Iftikhar Manzoor, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors who represented the protestors, called for the Police to learn from their mistakes in this case: “My clients were arrested under the Trade Union Regulations Act for disrupting a lawful activity, despite members of the hunt admitting they were no trouble or confrontation.

“Sending several police cars and a helicopter to confront a group of peaceful hunt protesters seems to be a little over the top and the police need to ensure they have cause to make arrests before they take innocent people into custody.”

If you or a loved one have been unfairly treated or unlawfully arrested by the police, our police complaints solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Protecting Your Rights page for more information or inquire online.