POLICE dealing with a six-week badger cull which is believed to include the Newent area said it will be “independent, impartial, even-handed and fair to everyone” during the scheme.

The controversial cull, aimed at tackling tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, was given the green light by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and was set to go ahead any time from June 1.

Police said officers will protect life and property, deal with any incidents of crime and disorder and ensure that anyone who wishes to protest peacefully and lawfully can.

West Mercia Police will be on standy as part of the proposed culling area is in the county.

Spokesman Toby Shergold said: “As such, West Mercia Police is undertaking a combined operation with Gloucestershire Constabulary to police any cull activity in these bordering areas.

“Our role will be to remain independent, working with those undertaking the cull to enable them to carry out what is a lawful activity and those who wish to exercise their human rights to oppose it through peaceful and lawful protest."

At an informal briefing at the headquarters in Waterwells Drive, Quedgeley, the Gloucestershire force set out its role in the months before, during and after the pilot.

Assistant Chief Constable, Richard Berry, said: “We will be independent, impartial, evenhanded and fair to everyone, whatever their views, interest or involvement in the pilot scheme.”

He said the force’s role would be to communicate with everyone involved about police activity, keep the peace if there were any protest issues and investigate if any crimes are committed.