POLICING

THE

FOOT & M0UTH

CRISIS

 

A report on the National Debrief

held at West Mercia Headquarters

10 & 11 September 2001

 

 

 

 

 

Any comments or queries concerning this document should be referred to Chief Superintendent Michael Green - Suffolk

Constabulary (0 1 284 774090) or Superintendent Bob McAlister - South Wales Police (0 1 619 889180)

 


This paper summarises the collective thoughts of operational police commanders involved in the Foot & Mouth Crisis. The paper does not contain detailed evidence but provides information concerning the difficulties faced by the police service during the crisis and makes recommendations for improvements.

 

1 INTRODUCTION

 

1.1 On 19 February 2001 an abattoir in Essex reported a suspected case of Foot & Mouth disease. The first in Britain for many years. A five-mile exclusion zone was put in place following confirmation of the suspicion the following day. On 23 February 2001 the case was linked to a farm in Northumberland and the following day a further case was reported in Devon. After a few days it was clear that the disease was a nationwide problem and livestock movements were restricted across the whole country. Within the space of just two months over 1500 cases had been reported, two million animals had been slaughtered and 218,000 carcasses were awaiting disposal. During the crisis a total of 2030 cases were reported, the last being in Appleby, Cumbria. Nearly 4 million animals have been slaughtered.

 

1.2 The Government called in the Army on 15 March 2001 and the structure of the Joint Co-ordination Centre (JCC) at The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food (MAFF) Headquarters in London was formed. The operation was led by MA-FF with the vast majority of logistical work being conducted by the Army. The JCC was also attended by other relevant government departments and agencies including Employment & Education; Environment, Transport & the Regions; Health; the National Union of Farm Workers and many more including veterinary and legal services from MAFF.

 

1.3 In addition to the JCC in London, MAFF appointed Regional Operations Directors (RODS) at strategic locations across the country. Their role was to co-ordinate activity on the ground with regard to veterinary and disposal services, utilising the logistical support of the Army. RODs sent daily bulletins to the JCC detailing pressure points and identifying requirements in respect of equipment and resources. RODs were actively seeking support from their local police forces from an early stage.

 

1,4 The Suffolk Constabulary agreed to take the national lead for policing and opened a Co-ordination Centre (called Suffolk Gold) at Suffolk Force Headquarters on 26 February 2001. Police Forces contacted Suffolk Gold in the early stages to provide information and to seek guidance, particularly with regard to police activity on infected premises.

 

1.5 The Emergency Procedure Unit from New Scotland Yard acted as police liaison to MA-FF in the early days and reported information back to Suffolk Gold. From 1 April 2001 Suffolk posted a Chief Superintendent to London to lead a permanent police desk within the JCC. It was the role of the police desk to pass information from the JCC back to Suffolk Gold for the benefit of all Forces as well as ensuring the JCC received regular updates on key policing issues such as protests, illegal movement of animals and problems with access to farms.

 

 

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1,6 The purpose of this report is to outline the role taken by the police service, both nationally and locally. The report is broken into 5 sections which cover the following general subject areas:

 

a) National co-ordination

b) Police powers under the Animal Health Act 1981

c) Entry onto farms

d) Illegal movement of animals

e) Vehicle convoys

f) Protests at disposal sites

g) Use of firearms

h) Funding arrangements

 

1.7 On 10/1 1 September 2001 a national police debrief was held at West Mercia Police Headquarters. The debrief was attended by all key Forces and representatives from the Home Office, Department of Environment, Farming & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), National Operations Faculty, Anti-Terrorist Branch of New Scotland Yard and Police Federation.

 

i.8 This report highlights the main issues raised at the national debrief and makes recommendations in support of the need for a general evaluation of the way national crises of this nature are handled in the future.

 

7 NATIONAL CO-ORDINATION

Overview

2.1 In February 2001, Paul Scott-Lee, the Chief Constable of Suffolk, in his capacity as vice chair of the ACPO General Policing Committee, agreed to take the national lead for co-ordinating police activity in respect of the Foot & Mouth Crisis. This initially gave Suffolk Constabulary responsibility for liaison with MAFF in London with regard to policing issues, responding to queries from Forces and the dissemination of appropriate information. In the early stages most queries related to the policing of infected premises, access to farm premises by police officers and the use of disinfectant.

 

2.2 Suffolk dealt with this responsibility by setting up a small coordinating team which quickly became known as Suffolk Gold. This was later recognized as a poor title as Suffolk5s role was to co-ordinate activity and provide advice, not to direct forces or to set strategies. The team, based at the Local Emergency Centre at Suffolk Force

Headquarters, largely consisted of representatives from the Operations Planning Section supplemented by Operations Room Controllers and later being supervised by designated Chief Inspectors/Inspectors.

 

2.3 One of the weaknesses identified in the early stages was the lack of expertise and knowledge within Suffolk Gold. While this was not a criticism of the individuals involved, some forces felt that this created delays while solutions to queries were sought.

 

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This, to some degree, was unavoidable in the early stages but improved as lines of communication were established with relevant experts from MA-FF, Trading Standards and other agencies. Most forces did agree, however, that Suffolk Gold became very useful in disseminating information and guidance, particularly the Emergency Instructions relating to the movement of carcasses for disposal (MAFF document circulated on 4 April) and the legal advice on resistance to entry onto farms (MAFF Legal .Department advice circulated 30 April).

 

2.4 The national debrief recognized resilience as one of the key issues in determining the effectiveness of national co-ordination. It was felt that Suffolk Gold did not initially remain open long enough each day and was not sufficiently staffed to ensure queries could be quickly and efficiently dealt with. This was improved considerably after 1 April 2001 when designated supervisors were put in place, but in the first month of the crisis this caused concern with some forces and agencies_

 

2.5 In the early stages (February - March) Suffolk rejected a request to receive and manage intelligence from forces arising from local enquiries and public information. In force areas most affected by the disease a considerable amount of intelligence and information was being generated. Some of this was being forwarded to Suffolk Gold and where necessary was forwarded to the JCC. The national debrief agreed, however, that it was for local forces to manage intelligence in partnership with other agencies from which the appropriate level of resources could be deployed. This worked particularly well where officers were specifically dedicated to the role (eg Cumbria).

 

2.6 Forces most affected (eg Northumbria, Cumbria, Devon & Cornwall) quickly established control centres, often in conjunction with the ROD and local authorities. The National Assembly for Wales (NAW) formulated its own control centre, which contained a police cell led by a superintendent. While the relationship between the police cell in the NAW and Suffolk Gold was very good, there was concern that this tier of control was an unnecessary level of accountability between local forces and Suffolk Gold. Generally, however, once established, the relationship and flow of information between local forces, police cells linked to RODs and Suffolk Gold worked well.

 

2.7 From 1 April 2001 the police desk within the JCC was established. This brought a vital tier of communication at national level, which was very effective in respect of dissemination of policy but not necessarily so efficient with regard to daily information flows. Messages and information were being passed through a number of routes sometimes creating confusion and diluting the original purpose. The following shows the hierarchical structure of the policing process during the crisis:

 

Joint Co-ordination Centre, London

 

2.8 There were two superintending rank officers managing the police desk in the JCC between 7 am and 7.30 pm daily. The superintendents shared responsibility for staffing the desk and were supported by a Metropolitan sergeant during office hours. These officers were responsible for attending three daily 'bird table' briefing sessions within the JCC. There was direct and regular contact with Suffolk Gold via telephone, fax and e-

 

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mail. The police desk avoided direct contact with forces where possible but did speak with ROD liaison officers over specific matters relating to policy (eg the policing of protests in the Tow Law and Widdrington disposal sites in Durhani/Northumberland).

 

The police desk had ready access to the information flows of other lead agencies with-in the JCC.

 

2.9 The role of the JCC police desk was defined as:

 

a) Interface with other agencies in the JCC at decision making level.

 

b) Accurate transfer of information between forces and the JCC.

 

c) Updating the JCC re protests, illegal movements and injunctions.

 

d) Providing best advice regarding national policy and spontaneous events to the police service.

 

e) Briefing Home Office representatives for Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) meetings.

 

Suffolk Gold

 

2.10 After 1 April 2001 Suffolk Gold was staffed from 7 am - 9 pm daily by a Chief Inspector or Inspector operating as office manager, together with a representative from the Operations Planning Section and two Operations Room Controllers. Suffolk Gold was responsible for the link between the police desk in the JCC and police representatives in the RODs as well as direct links with police forces. The role was defined as:

 

a) Managing information from police forces regarding bum, burial and landfill sites, including details of any protests.

 

b) Providing a filtering service for information from forces to the police desk in the JCC.

 

c) Dissemination of advice and information to forces.

 

d) Maintenance of the police national web site.

e) Monitoring tension indicators at protest sites.

Regional Operations

2.11 In areas of the country where Foot & Mouth was most prevalent a Regional Operations Director (ROD) was appointed by MAFF to direct local activity on the ground. This included the destruction and disposal of animals, transportation, legal and illegal movements of livestock and management of welfare schemes. Police liaison officers

 

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were appointed and often took responsibility for representing the needs of more than one local force. Appointment of police officers to RODs was seen as highly desirable by the police desk in the JCC. Many queries were pursued with these officers which helped understanding of national police policy by the other agencies. In the main, officers based in the RODs took responsibility for:

 

a) Inter-agency liaison on policing matters.

 

b) Passing information to Suffolk Gold regarding protests.

 

c) Advising the ROD of national policing policy.

d) Targeting police resources in liaison with relevant forces.

Police Forces

 

2.12 In addition to the liaison officers appointed to the RODS, many forces developed their own Gold Controls. These were usually run by Contingency Planning staff with a nominated Superintendent or Chief Inspector having overall responsibility. These controls were vital to Suffolk Gold and quickly became efficient at providing detailed assessments of information relating to protests, the potential for difficulties at farms where injunctions might be necessary and where local pressure points were occurring in relation to the fight against disease. This information was supplied to Suffolk Gold, distilled and forwarded to the police desk in the JCC for the benefit of the strategy team and also the Home Office COBR representative. The majority of the liaison officers from the key forces were present at the national debrief on 1 0/ 1 1 September 200 1.

 

2.13 Communication was conducted mainly by telephone and facsimile. There was an e-mail link between the police desk in the JCC and Suffolk Gold, which proved to be extremely beneficial for passing information quickly for dissemination to Forces. Suffolk Gold established a dedicated web site which proved useful, particularly for outlining policy decisions and providing updates on the national situation. There was criticism that the web site was not always up to date and did not provide regional breakdowns. It did, however, receive over 4,500 'hits' during the crisis. The national debrief agreed that clear responsibility must exist for the maintenance of electronic information flows, so that accurate advice and information is circulated daily. Any shortfall in this area will result in lack of use.

 

2.14 The structure which developed with the police desk in the JCC, Suffolk Gold and Force liaison officers, while working adequately, highlighted the need for a national response facility for crises of this nature. While Suffolk managed to resource Gold throughout the crisis, this was done as part of other competing responsibilities and there was an understandable lack of relevant knowledge in the early stages. A national response facility would not necessarily be able to offer greater expertise on specific issues such as Foot & Mouth, but there would be an obvious level of expertise developed in the management of the requisite structures and systems. The opportunity to set the facility up quickly and efficiently would also develop.

 

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2.15 The Cabinet Office Emergency Planning Review 'The Future of Emergency Planning in England and Wales' published in August 2001, in the main concerns itself with the need for carefully constructed framework legislation and consistency of approach in planning, prevention and response. The proposals within the document are aimed at:

 

a) Effective co-operation between relevant organisations at local level,

 

b) Sound co-ordination arrangements where needed at regional level and,

 

c) Effective support for and co-ordination of the function at national level.

 

2.16 While the review was not set up as a result of the Foot & Mouth crisis, many of its messages are relevant. The proposals within the review became a theme at the national debrief, with many forces being frustrated by the lack of resilience and co-ordination shown by local authorities and other agencies. Equally, national co-ordination did not always assist the demands of policing the crisis. Inconsistent approaches to policy and a lack of understanding by practitioners often created confusion. The Emergency Planning Review rightly points out that 'there is a danger that a patchwork of inconsistent policies and programmes will become the norm'. The review emphasises the need for redefining national and regional relationships in Emergency Planning.

 

2.17 The National Operations Faculty may have a role to play in co-ordinating the immediate response to national operations of this type. The structure outlined in Section 1 of the ACPO Emergency Procedures Manual is a helpful basis upon which to develop this structure albeit the manual is aimed more specifically at major disaster incidents rather than protracted crises such as Foot & Mouth.

 

2.18 Recommendations

 

a) Ensure communication links and technology are in place quickly. Utilise web sites as a reference point and ensure all forces understand access arrangements. E-mail documents whenever possible.

 

b) Resource the passing of information by dedicating individuals to gather and disseminate facts nationally. This keeps forces up to date with both policy and the state of the incident.

 

c) Where a joint agency approach is recommended, whether nationally or locally, allocate appropriate officers immediately to act in a co-ordinating role with other agencies. This helps with the level of understanding and controls unnecessary and inappropriate demands.

 

d) A national structure for co-ordinating major operations should be considered in line with that sought under the Cabinet Office Emergency Planning Review, possibly involving the National Operations Faculty.

 

 

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3 THE ROLE OF THE POLICE

 

3.1 The role of the police in civil disasters and emergencies is well defined reflecting the general principles contained within the definition of a constable. The protection of life and property, the maintenance of order and the prosecution of offenders are key responsibilities, which almost invariably require the police to be at the forefront of commanding and directing the response to such events.

 

3.2 The ACPO response to the Cabinet Office Emergency Planning Review, has been quick to emphasise the difference between planning and response, suggesting that the latter ostensibly remains the domain of the police.

 

3.3 Recent major crises have included the fuel dispute, flooding and now Foot & Mouth disease. All of these involved a considerable input from the police but in the case of Foot & Mouth this was limited, as the strategic direction came from MAFF supported by the Army, who in turn were operating at the behest of the Government. The police, for once, were simply another agency, albeit an important one, in what was a huge response required from all Government departments, local authorities and the military.

 

3.4 As outlined under Section 2 above, the police role within the JCC in London was very much a participatory one and this-position was replicated across the country in the RODS. Individual police forces developed Gold controls, to ensure an appropriate police response to incidents, particularly in those forces most affected. It was, however, a fact that the police service was largely acting in response to requests for assistance and its role became blurred on occasions as the balance of those responsibilities against other priorities was tested.

 

Powers to Stop, Detain and Arrest

 

3.5 The police have statutory responsibilities under the Animal Health Act 198 1. The main enforcement responsibilities are outlined within Section 60 of the Act and can be summarised as follows:

 

a) A constable may stop and detain any person who is or is suspected of committing an offence against the Act (Section 60(2)).

 

b) A constable may stop, detain and examine any vehicle to which the offence relates and can require it to be taken back from where it was unlawfully removed (Section 60(4)).

 

3.6 Until the introduction of The Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), the police also had a power of arrest for obstructing or impeding a constable or officer (eg MA-FF official) in the execution of their duty. PACE repealed this power because it introduced other powers for constables, which were seen as sufficient. This meant that the power of arrest for obstructing or impeding could only apply to an official and only that official continued to retain a power of arrest.

 

 

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3.7 The change in the law created a good deal of confusion in the early stages of the cl-'s' MAFF lawyers initially claimed that the police retained their powers of arrest and some force lawyers also found the legislative changes confusing. Some delegates felt there might be opportunities for designated force lawyers to specialise In areas of law not regularly used. It was, however, finally agreed that only officials had a power of arrest and, while the police had a duty under Section 3 of The Criminal Law Act 1967 to assist in the lawful apprehension of offenders, they did not have a power of arrest under The Animal Health Act 198 1.

 

3.8 MA-FF lawyers drafted a useful schedule of guidance to its officers, which described how these powers should be utilized and the procedures to be followed once a person was in custody. These instructions may have become relevant when some farmers and animal owners refused to permit access to their property for the purpose of culling or testing. In practice, however, the power was not tested to any large degree.

 

3.9 There was, however, some concern expressed by officials that they had had no previous experience of arrest, caution and interview which clearly made them feel vulnerable. When animal owners became vociferous, officials, supported by the police, usually managed to gain access by careful dialogue with the farmer/animal owner or with the aid of a court injunction.

 

3.10 The national debrief heard that often police officers found themselves in the middle of the situation. They attempted to remain impartial but found themselves having to mediate in order to achieve the lawful requirements of the officials while at the same time needing to control the gathering crowd. There was a clear feeling that there was an insufficient number of officials, who were often not well trained to carry out their difficult task. In some cases there was confusion over the need for a court injunction to enter farm premises as against the need too arrest the farmer/animal owner for obstructing officials. In one area there was a distinct lack of legal advice to officials on the ground resulting in confusion. There was, however, a legal desk in the JCC and heipline numbers were provided.

 

3.11 The national debrief also unanimously agreed that the powers repealed by PACE should not be reinstated to constables. This decision was reached on the basis that forces clearly felt that entry onto farms for veterinary purposes was no more a role for the police than, for example, the service of a county court injunction.

 

3.12 Police officers at the national debrief fully accepted that the police had a role in preserving the peace, dealing with more serious offences that may be committed and assisting in the lawful apprehension of offenders; but they strongly believed that the primary role was one for MAFF (DEFRA). There was some concern expressed when the delegates at the national debrief heard that legal moves were afoot to obtain a parliamentary slot for legislation, which would reinstate such powers to the police.

 

3.13 The main area for concern was that of defining the primary role of the police and whether Foot & Mouth could be described as a core policing function. This concern was clearly illustrated by the different approaches of some forces. Dev6n & Cornwall, for example,

 

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allocated officers to act as bio-security guards on infected premises. This was carried out in agreement with the local MAFF office on the understanding that any additional expenditure would be met by MAFF. Avon & Somerset conversely, declined this approach even though funding was available. They reasoned that this was a role for security guards and not for police officers. There was some concern that forces were providing differing levels of service in several areas.

 

 

Illegal Movements

 

3.14 Another area of work, which courted controversy, was the requirement to stop and check vehicles on main routes where illegal movement of animals was suspected. While the police had a statutory duty to carry out these tasks, there was a strong feeling that in the absence of reasonable intelligence to support the tasking of officers to such duties, their efforts were unlikely to be productive. Where there was actionable intelligence, forces committed considerable resources to try to stop the unlawful spread of the disease. Some forces also developed 'stop check' strategies aimed purely at sending clear messages to those who may be considering illegal movement.

 

3.15 There was a strong sense amongst those represented at the national debrief that there was political necessity driving some of the demands for road checks. The North Yorkshire Police, for example, were requested to supply officers to police a number of roads springing from the area known as the 'Settle Box' in order to prevent the spread of the disease south towards dairy herds. There was, however, little specific intelligence suggesting that illegal or irresponsible movements would occur. Agreement was eventually reached that some officers would be provided to assist officials to carry out checks on the basis that funding was provided to pay for the additional patrols. Some of the patrol work carried out in the North Yorkshire area was, however, very effective. In the region east of Thirsk six patrol areas were identified and patrol vehicles were allocated to each. The message spread by these officers during the course of their patrols was seen as helping to advertise the bio-security message, which prevented further outbreaks after 18 August.

 

3.16 In addition to the absence of intelligence there were also some practical concerns over proposals to implement general bio-security checks and disinfecting campaigns. These were usually because risk assessments suggested the checks might present road hazards. In Devon & Cornwall there were good examples of high profile policing campaigns but the introduction of disinfectant matting was opposed by the police on road safety grounds. There were also concerns over its effectiveness.

 

3,17 In Cumbria designated sites worked well. They were staffed by MAFF, with five police patrols (covering 16 hours each day) deployed to enforce the bio-security message by stopping vehicles from farming areas. These vehicles also contained a MAFF Field Officer.

 

3.18 There was considerable concern about the lack of knowledge and understanding by

 

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officials. Often police officers bound themselves attempting to mediate due to ignorance of the law or procedures involved. Much of this seemed to be because officials were simply not used to dealing with confrontational situations and had little experience of utilizing the legislation. It was unanimously felt by those present at the national debrief that there was a substantial training need for those who may be called upon to act when a crisis of this magnitude unfolds. The Cabinet Office Emergency Planning Review said one criticism of the current emergency planning system is a lack of detailed guidance to practitioners'. This was clearly felt to be the case during the Foot & Mouth Crisis.

 

 

3.19 Many forces also experienced a lack of resilience ' amongst those agencies acting to enforce the Animal Health Act. This was probably most noticeable when police officers were asked to support activity aimed at detecting illegal movement of animals. Often there were no resources available from MAFF or Trading Standards agencies to assist. In addition to this it was often unclear which agency was responsible for enforcement and from where the funding would be obtained. It is understood that during normal working arrangements Trading Standards would deploy a very small proportion of its 2700 staff on animal disease related issues and that during this crisis a considerable number were reassigned from other duties. It was felt by those present at the national debrief that local authorities must play a far more significant role in terms of training, support facilities and provision of resources. Fire Services and other local authority staff might need to be trained to support where the sheer size of the task is always likely to overwhelm those having primacy.

 

3.20 There were, however, good examples of local liaison, which worked well. In Lancashire the Major Incident Co-ordinating Group (LANMIC) was formed quickly and met regularly throughout the crisis. Strategy was determined at an early stage and all agencies had a clear understanding of common purpose.

 

3,21 Delegates at the national debrief recommended that high profile, periodic, well resourced inter-agency roadside checks would be of significant benefit; but clear co-ordination of activity based upon levels of known or suspected offending would be essential to avoid wasting resources and to ensure activity is targeted.

 

Convoys

 

3.22 Policing the number of vehicle movements was also a challenge for the police. The Army and private contractors had a difficult role in dealing with the huge logistical problem of carcass disposal, the number of vehicle movements was enormous. This created a logistical and reassurance problem for police forces in order to spread understanding amongst communities and also to find appropriate routes to disposal sites.

 

3.23 All contracted drivers had possession of a written protocol and also an emergency procedure card in the event of accidental damage to the load or spillage. MA-FF circulated a detailed guidance document for emergency services, which was very well received. The document provided comprehensive advice on procedures to follow and there was also an emergency help line. In the event, there "re few problems with the

 


condition of the loads although some leaks were reported and dealt with.

 

 

3.24 Some forces adopted strict enforcement criteria against vehicle convoys to ensure loads were safe and speed limits were being observed. In Cumbria, for example, a specified route into the Great Orton site was agreed with contractors and a voluntary speed limit was also put in place. Drivers breaking these rules were referred to the contractor and dismissed. This rigorous style of enforcement served to send positive messages to both operators and the public in respect of the police maintaining control.

 

 

 

Protests

 

3.25 Health & Safety assessments were conducted to ensure that carcass disposal was conducted in the best possible way, minimizing the potential risk to the public. This involved dealing with the huge quantities of ash produced from bum sites, use of air curtain burners and environmental surveys of sites. While all this work was dealt witti by other agencies and the Army, the police had a key role in managing the concerns of the local population and where necessary dealing with protest. This was sometimes difficult when pressure built up to dispose -of carcasses more quickly due to the backlogs created during April. Many animals remained on farms for several days after slaughter, heightening public anxiety.

 

3.26 There were protests at several locations across the country, particularly at bury and bum sites. In the main, protests were peaceful if vociferous and there was no large-scale disorder.

 

3.27 Some forces felt that there was pressure being exerted from Government for a robust approach to the policing of sites where protest may affect the business of carcass disposal. The contribution from some local MPs and councillors to the concern over the extent and duration of sites served to raise the political temperature.

 

3.28 Where protests became significant, best results were obtained where open dialogue existed between the protesters, local authority, MAFF, elected representatives and the police. Unfortunately, there was evidence that on occasions officials failed to turn up to public meetings which did little to appease local concerns.

 

3.29 The level of protest in Northumbria and Durham was significant at the Widdrington and Tow Law sites. Local police had to balance carefully the need to allow peaceful protest while permitting the disposal work to remain on track to meet tight deadlines.

 

3.30 There were concerns raised by forces that on some occasions information about the intended use of sites was not forthcoming or was confused, leaving the police to deal with the local community while not in possession of all the facts. This occurred at landfill sites used for disposal under the welfare scheme.

 

 

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3.3 1 It is recognised that the role of the Intervention Board in identifying landfill sites for the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme was difficult and the. pressure to find sites rapidly was paramount. There was a requirement for police forces to report on proposed sites with regard to tension indicators, which might make the site unsuitable. On occasions forces made local enquiries which had the effect of raising public concerns, even if there was little likelihood that the site would be used. This was, however, rare and in the main the policy worked well with forces submitting brief assessments through Suffolk Gold from which decisions on usage were made. There was also good evidence of forces working in harmony with site contractors and local authorities, which proved beneficial.

 

 

3.32 Concern was expressed at the national debrief regarding the quality of security guards on some sites. Some guards were uncomfortable with dealing with protests and they seemed to lack direction and specific training for the role.

 

3.33 Recommendations:

 

a) Major crises of this type require comprehensive 'joined up' working between the police and other agencies. The Cabinet Office Emergency Planning Review highlights areas of concern regarding the commitment of agencies and their role in major events. This p aper supports the need for changes in Emergency Planning procedures to cater for improved integration of services.

b) The role of the police should be defined and agreed at the outset of the crisis with the lead agency or Government Department. This should take account of police powers and the extent to which the use of those powers is necessary. Police activity should t* driven by intelligence, from which senior officers can determine the level of resources required.

c) Suitable staff need to be identified and trained to manage the substantial demands placed on local authorities and other agencies that currently do not have the operational resilience to cope with crises of this nature.

d) There is no requirement to amend the legislation contained within the Animal Health Act 1981. Amending the legislation will be seen as simply plugging the current deficiencies of other agencies in respect of both training and resilience.

 

4 FIREARMS

 

4.1 There was a huge requirement for licensed slaughterers who operated at the discretion of RODS. The sheer demand for those able to discharge a firearm sometimes resulted in the quality of individual applicants not being rigorously checked. The vast majority of those carrying out this difficult task were exemplary. but there were instances of great concern.

 

4.2 MAFF circulated explicit guidelines on the slaughter of animals and the police were asked to co-operate by allowing certificate/licence variations to be completed quickly,

 

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thereby enabling extra quantities of ammunition to be lawfully possessed. On sot-ne occasions, however, there was very limited local authority training before permits were issued. This resulted in some instances of misuse, where animals undoubtedly suffered.

 

4.3 The most publicised incident occurred in Monmouthshire where a video recording was made of a man with a rifle attempting to destroy an animal with little professionalism. In Cumbria police were called to 'finish off some animals which had not been destroyed correctly. These types of incidents led to further guidance being circulated from MA-FF. It also resulted in the British Association for Shooting & Conservation volunteering its services to assist with the destruction of difficult animals, where a rifle might be needed.

 

4.4 Some police forces expressed concern at the policy of paying slaughterers for each animal destroyed. This sometimes led to a lack of care which was compounded by the standards required from veterinary surgeons differing from place to place. Some police forces were pressed for positive action by the RSPCA, to deal with animal suffering, sometimes when no powers were available.

 

4.5 The national debrief noted the following areas of concern:

 

a) Inconsistency of approach by veterinary managers with local police not being kept informed of policy changes (eg use of free bullet).

b) Poor security of weapons and ancillary equipment on the ground, particularly at night.

c) The use of captive bolt weapons, which were unsuitable for mass destruction. Many weapons broke resulting in slaughterers using other types of firearms.

d) Paying slaughterers by the carcass resulting in sloppy practices and staff working too many hours each day. Some staff were injured as a result.

 

4.6 There was evidence of good practice also. Essex Police took the national lead by recommending to all forces procedures for administering applications quickly. This resulted in some forces setting up local protocols with written work records being maintained for applicants. In Scotland risk assessments were completed which allowed for comments to be made on the quality of the work undertaken.

 

4.7 In Newcastle the Disease Emergency Control Centre (DECC) developed a policy document which ensured some control over the contracting of applicants. This included a system for making crosschecks between DECCs to ensure applicants had not been dismissed for incompetence. The policy document details the involvement of Police Firearms Licensing Sections in the process. Suitable forms were developed for applications, police force checks and risk assessments in respect of live firing on cull sites.

 

4.8 In some areas of the country, most notably Cumbria, there was a need to adopt a positive stance to the potential misuse of firearms by farmers. Ministry staff were sometimes

 

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threatened with firearms, resulting in authorities being obtained to revoke shotgun firearms licenses. No permanent revocations were made and it is thought that there were no prosecutions.

 

4.9 Recommendations

 

a) While recognising the need for urgency during the Foot & Mouth Crisis, there needs to be tighter controls for the management of those contracted for slaughtering purposes. This must include rigorous application procedures and risk assessments for sites.

 

h) Veterinary managers must take full responsibility for training, qualifications and insurance of those employed in the role.

 

c) A protocol is required to establish precise responsibilities and arrangements for local authorities to work in conjunction with Police Firearms Licensing Sections.

 

7 FUNDING

 

5.1 Suffolk Gold asked forces to collate expenditure on the Foot & Mouth Crisis. These returns have been submitted to DEFR-A with a request for payment. The data includes both actual and loss of opportunity costs.

 

5.2 Almost all forces involved in the crisis had difficulty in calculating expenditure on Foot & Mouth. It was recognised at the national debrief that the costs submitted by forces would never reflect the true cost of policing the crisis as much work went unnoticed as part of everyday routine policing.

 

5.3 Some forces felt that there was a duty to try to keep costs to a minimum, as there was a genuine feeling that the police had a responsibility to support MAFF initiatives aimed at curbing the disease. Equally, however, there was concern that by minimising the financial returns submitted to Suffolk Gold there might be an expectation from Government that, for the future, the cost of policing such crises was modest and inconsequential.

 

5.4 The main concem over funding was the disparate way in which some police forces were able to seek and obtain funding locally, through MA-FF, while other forces were ignorant of the opportunity and therefore tailored the deployment of resources accordingly. This was particularly so in Devon & Cornwall where funding for farm security was assured locally resulting in the force deploying officers on rest days. The national debrief was concerned that the role for which the officers were deployed was not a police function in any event. Devon & Cornwall took what they saw as a longer-tenn view for what was an extremely serious situation in a predominantly fanning community. They felt strongly that the epidemiology results would bear out the fact that their 24-hour presence on farms prevented the spread of the disease.

 

 

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5.5 Local funding also occurred In Gwent and North Yorkshire for the purpose of placing additional patrols in areas where Illegal movements could have caused problems.

 

 

5.6 The key issue discussed at the national debrief was how the role of the police should be determined and what tasks fall within that role. It was felt that tasks, which were not the role of the police, or which were seen as not of a high priority based on competing demands, should attract financial compensation by way of private employment. The policy regarding the employment of security guards needed to be outlined at an early stage. This would have helped to determine the parameters for police deployment.

 

5.7 It was clear that during the Foot & Mouth crisis funding was not structured nationally with no service-wide agreements or protocols from which forces could make informed judgements about policing activity. This resulted in those areas of the country where local funding was agreed receiving a far superior service. This inconsistency was unfortunate to say the least. The Chief Constable of Suffolk has submitted to DEFRA, together with budget statements from all forces, a request for clarification of the funding policy.

 

5.8 The lack of clarity with regard to a funding policy could have had a substantial effect on the potential of forces to meet performance targets. For example, in Cumbria the Local Policing Plan targets were amended, as it was determined that the targets would no longer be achievable based on the amount of resources diverted to the Foot and Mouth Crisis. This decision may well have been unnecessary if the force had received the assurance of some reimbursement, based on the substantial level of resources deployed to the crisis.

 

5.9 Recommendations:

 

a) It is essential that a national funding policy be agreed at the earliest possible point of a crisis of this type, with relevant Government Departments involved.

 

b) The funding strategy should be clearly communicated to all police forces and local government off-ices to ensure understanding and to prevent ad hoc funding based on requests made locally. A national protocol or template would help to underpin such a strategy.

 

c) The funding strategy should he linked closely to the determined role of the police, thereby establishing, as far as possible, what is to be delivered as part of normal policing of a major operation and what can be seen as employment in excess of normal duty.

 

6 CONCLUSION

 

6.1 The policing of the Foot & Mouth Crisis represented an enormous challenge to the police service. In general terms this challenge was met through a determined approach to support and work with other agencies to minimize risks and to prosecute offenders.

 

 

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6.2 There were, however, some fundamental areas of performance for which the service would wish to examine its ability to respond to crises of this nature. These areas in the main concerned the national co-ordination structure, definition of role and financial Implications.

 

7 RECOMMENDATIONS TO PROGRESS REPORT

 

 

7.1 This debrief report be submitted to ACPO Emergency Procedures Committee National Operations Faculty for consideration of future developments in national crisis management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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