Source: Angling Trust
Humberside Police received a report that the owner of a local fishery was publicising the fact that he was banning Eastern Europeans from using his facility because they were stealing fish.
This raised legal and ethical questions around what the police response should be in respect of this. Humberside Police could not find any precedent where other forces had been presented with this issue. Consequently Humberside Police Community Safety Unit in conjunction with Legal Services have written guidance in relation to the issue.
The matter in hand actually resolved itself because the owner of the fishery in question is selling the fishery. However the guidance below has been circulated to the National Wildlife Crime Unit and is available to all forces for reference, should the scenario ever arise again.
The corporate stance is as follows:
1. If private fishery owners wish to ban anglers who they believe have displayed inappropriate behaviour or contravened rules etc. they are entitled to do so. A private fishery organisation banning people based on their ethnicity is not a policing issue but could be a breach of the Equality Act 2010.
2. Humberside Police recommend that if people are excluded, a decision to do so should be reached on an individual basis, not on the basis of individuals being from a certain community. As a non-policing issue, individuals are entitled to seek legal advice and consider pursuing through the Civil Courts. Information can be found at http://www.lawsociety.org.uk
3. Humberside Police recommends fishery owners use any resources available from the Angling Trust, which may include signage and leaflets explaining the rules of fishing on the premises in various languages to ensure participants are aware of the rules. http://www.anglingtrust.net
4. If comments are made/reported to Humberside Police on the basis of a person, group of people or community due to their ethnicity or presumed ethnicity (or any other demographic) in a prejudicial, derogatory or discriminatory way, we will record and deal with the matter appropriately on the basis of a Hate Incident or Hate Crime.
Dilip Sarkar, Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager, commented:
“This is an entirely sensible response by Humberside Police, which can be used by other forces should this issue ever arise again. Alienating certain sections of society is not the way forward: education and enforcement is. Multi-lingual signage and leaflets are available to all from the Angling Trust and these are as important to preventing offences as they are to helping achieve prosecutions.
Guides to angling law and fisheries enforcement are also freely available from the Angling Trust website and we provide Fisheries Enforcement Workshops in partnership with the Environment Agency, National Wildlife Crime Unit and Institute of Fishery Management – in addition to having achieved support from the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Fishery owners therefore have access to all the required information and can access appropriate support. There is a right and wrong way of approaching this issue – so we must all work together to resolve it the right way. There is no longer any excuse for not doing so.”
Radoslaw Papiewski, National Building Bridges Project Manager – Angling Trust, said:
“This is very important information provided by Humberside Police. Banning an ethnic group from a fishery should never take place under any circumstances.
We all understand that tensions are raising high in some places but there is other way of dealing with it. There are n’er do wells in any community, but this doesn’t mean that all migrant anglers are up to no good.
My work in this area has provided evidence that a high percentages of migrant anglers are not aware or do not understand the fisheries bylaws but that once the rules are explained these anglers are keen to respect them.
By displaying multilingual signs and distributing leaflets clubs can not only overcome the language barrier but this also helps build a strong case for prosecution of offenders. Help is available to angling clubs experiencing these problems, all they have to do is contact the Angling Trust and report incidents of fishing without permission and the theft of fish to the Police on 101 and the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.”