Police consider drones to monitor badger cull protesters
Devon and Cornwall police warn activists as cull zone is massively expanded
Police have warned badger cull protesters that they may use drones to try to keep order in the far south-west of England following heightened tensions between activists and officers.
In an email to protesters seen by the Guardian, a Devon and Cornwall officer said the force would consider using drones “where intelligence dictates”.
The force said it was considering drones because of a spike in crimes in some areas within cull zones but protesters insisted the move would not stop them from trying to prevent badgers being killed.
The cull in England has been hugely expanded into 10 new areas, with up to 42,000 animals now due to be shot in an attempt to curb tuberculosis in cattle, up from 32,500 last year.
The cull zones now cover vast swathes of many counties, including 68% of Devon and 54% of Cornwall.
The increase is adding to pressure on police forces in these areas. In the email to the protester, the officer wrote: “I have been asked to let you know – and that you forward as you believe necessary – that a decision has been made that where intelligence dictates police will consider the deployment of drones.”