Rural communities across the country will welcome the news that the police are going to stop routine monitoring of hunts. This recognises that the ban on fox hunting is largely unenforceable and leaves the legislation effectively dead in the water.
It’s a pity that the sheer visibility of offences against the smoking ban, and the existence of self-appointed vigilantes keen to point out any infraction, mean that there is no chance of it withering on the vine in a similar way. But this news must give succour to opponents of bans of all kinds, that they are not necessarily a permanent fait accompli, and that even if not repealed they can eventually fade away if they lack public acceptance and the political will to enforce them.
I have heard reports of pubs in remote rural areas – just the kind of places likely to strongly support hunting – where customers are already cheerfully cocking a snook at the smoking ban.
It’s also interesting to hear Richard Brunstrom in his role as ACPO spokesman on rural affairs talking of priorities and proportionality in terms of enforcement of the hunting ban. This is widely at variance with his swivel-eyed, zero-tolerance approach to enforcement of motoring law, where many of the technical offences prosecuted could be regarded as equally trivial.