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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 November 2005, 15:54 GMT
Hunts 'not a priority' say police
Hunting scene
The hunting season in Hampshire begins this weekend
Hampshire's top policeman has said the force will monitor hunts when the season starts, but admitted policing the ban was not a priority.

Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan said he expected people participating in hunts in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to "display appropriate behaviour".

But said that "hunting per se is not a policing priority for me".

Hunting foxes with hounds was made illegal under the Hunting Act but dogs can be used to flush out a fox.

'Passionate issue'

The fox can then be killed by a bird of prey or shot - if only two dogs are involved.

Mr Kernaghan said: "My response to hunting activity and associated breaches of law will, therefore, be commensurate and proportionate to other policing priorities.

"However, I acknowledge and understand that hunting generates great passion on both sides.

"Hampshire Constabulary will attend areas where there is evidence of hunting activity and will take action against anyone seeking to create a breach of the peace, provoking disorder, or breaking the law relating to hunting.

"I will exercise my professional judgement as to the most effective way to collect relevant evidence, evidence which will be placed before the Crown Prosecution Service."

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