A West MP has called for farmers' representatives and the culling company to be banned from the police control room when the cull resumes in Somerset later this summer.
In a letter to the Police and Crime Commissioner of Avon & Somerset, Sue Mountstevens, Kerry McCarthy called for "transparent" policing of the cull and raised the "considerable concern" that the privacy of the people protesting was breached because their names and addresses were potentially available to the private firm they were protesting against.
The Bristol East MP spoke up after a series of complaints lodged against the police by one protester were upheld, and the report into what happened late one night near the Somerset village of Carhampton revealed how half the people in the police's control room that night were either from the NFU or the private firm hired to carry out the cull.
Earlier this week, the Western Daily Press revealed how police communications officers complained that the representatives from the cull company were "shouting across" them as they tried to provide a response to allegations on the ground.
Protesters called 999 to allege they had been assaulted, while the marksmen carrying out the cull were able to radio straight through to their bosses, sitting in the same room as the police chiefs.
Ms McCarthy called on the Avon & Somerset Constabulary to be "more transparent" when it comes to policing this year's badger cull, and made the suggestion that if the police wanted "real-time" information fed to them from the scene, they could work with Natural England, the Government body instigating the culls.
The Labour MP listed a series of questions to Ms Mountstevens, including demanding to know who agreed to let representatives from the culling firm and the NFU into the control room.
"Please can you ensure these questions are answered in full, which is vital if we are to maintain the trust and confidence of the protesters and public at large in the policing of the culls," she wrote.
"It is very important that the police are impartial and even-handed – and appear so – in their approach to policing legitimate public protest and maintaining public safety. As the report says, having these reps in the control room did give 'the impression that the police were simply supporting the cull operators at the expense of a freedom to protest by the various badger support groups'."
She added that "independent oversight" was necessary to provide full confidence in the process.