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Anger at RSPCA’s access to Cumbria police records

Campaigners have called for a “special agreement” allowing animal charity staff access to sensitive police records to be scrapped.

The Countryside Alliance says an information sharing arrangement between the RSPCA and Cumbria police could pose “significant risks” to anyone involved.

But police and the charity both insist the link-up is an effective way of tackling animal-related crime.

Details of the deal emerged after the campaign group lodged a Freedom of Information request which revealed RSPCA workers in Cumbria are able to access private information held in criminal records.

Some of this information includes:

  • Vehicles connected to a suspect or prospective offender;
  • Information held on the National Firearms Licensing Management System;
  • Details of anyone convicted, charged or cautioned; or anyone fined for disorder or subject to ASBOs, curfews, banning or exclusion orders;
  • Terms of probation or bail conditions;
  • Details on methods an individual has used to commit offences against animals in the past;
  • Information which may indicate someone’s “willingness” to inflict harm on an animal;
  • Any past recorded behavioural or medical issues;
  • Intelligence concerning someone actively involved in, or intending to commit any animal-related offences.

Barney White-Spunner, executive chairman of the Countryside Alliance, said: “The RSPCA is neither a public body, nor a statutory prosecuting force – it’s a campaigning charity with an increasingly militant animal rights agenda.

“The disclosure of highly personal information held on police databases to the organisation could pose significant risks to the individual concerned.”

Cumbria police said the Information Sharing Agreement (ISA) with the RSPCA is in place to help cut crimes against animals and support prevention, detection, apprehension and prosecution.

The RSPCA insists it does not have any unique, or direct, access to information stored by the police or held on the policr national computer but it does “on occasion” lawfully request information from police to prevent and detect serious animal-related crime.

“Any response from the police is at their discretion and will be proportionate to the request made,” a spokeswoman said.

Have your say

Some good comments by Brian May...

"Criticising the RSPCA is like wanting paedophiles to escape justice"

"the only difference between critics of the charity and child abusers was that in RSPCA cases “the creatures involved are non-human.”"

"The charity’s detractors were “pro-cruelty”, he claimed, and formed a small but powerful group of rich, well-connected and “utterly ruthless” people."

He has a point ;-)

Posted by Me on 22 August 2013 at 20:27

This is why the police and RSPCA work together to stop people involved in crime which also involves wildlife and domestic animals. Are people really against this
Just because the RSPCA dared to prosecute the Heytrop Hunt they are now being dragged through the mud by their powerful friends. It's disgusting.

Posted by H Night on 20 August 2013 at 19:53

View all 31 comments on this article

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