I edited & posted this verbatim, honest. This has appeared here before as conjecture, but it seemed best left to the Twitterati then.
I haven't seen four-letter epithets printed in a decent broadsheet before, so am curious to see whether the text censor sanitises them. If it does, next time they'll be reproduced in their full flavour & richness for everyone to share....
Britain's biggest shooting lobby riven by infighting, leak reveals
Report appears to show BASC in meltdown with senior staff suspended and resigning amid accusations of a ‘culture of fear’. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation is facing an external investigation into bitter internal conflict.
For the Guardian: John Vidal Sunday 28 August 2016 14.59 BST
Britain’s biggest and richest shooting organisation appears to be in meltdown, with senior staff suspended, members of its governing council resigning and an external investigation being conducted by an international law firm into vicious internal conflict.
According to documents sent to the League Against Cruel Sports and the Guardian, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, whose patron is the Duke of Edinburgh, has been riven for months by internal dissent, “accusations of institutional bullying” and “a culture of fear and intimidation”. Anonymous letters are said to have been sent to staff, and police have been called in to the organisation’s head office near Chester to defuse a possible breach of the peace when things “threatened to get out of hand”.
A 65-page grievance investigation report prepared by the London law firm Hill Dickinson at the request of Alan Jarrett, the BASC chair until he resigned in June, includes allegations that directors and trustees gave each other two verbal barrels.
One senior BASC man is alleged to have said to another: “You will live to regret this,” another is accused of saying of a colleague that “the only thing that **** wants is a bullet between the eyes”, and a third is said to have said: “I swear I will kill you, you ****.” All statements were denied, according to the Hill Dickinson report.
BASC, headquartered on the site of an 11th-century mill recorded in the Domesday Book at Rossett, outside Wrexham, has a membership of 140,000 shooters and 110 staff. As Britain’s most powerful shooting lobby group, it boasts that it is the largest and best-resourced country sports organisation in the UK, with David Douglas-Home, the present Earl of Home and son of former the Tory prime minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home, its president. There is no suggestion he was involved in any of the grievances.
BASC, which states its primary aim is to foster a “strong and unified voice for shooting”, declined to respond to questions about what precisely triggered the almighty bust-up and who exactly had resigned or been suspended. But according to the conclusions of the independent investigation, four people at BASC “clearly breached fiduciary duty” by not cooperating with the investigation. Others “have not been acting in the best interests of BASC”, says the report. One man was found to have damaged the organisation by spreading rumours.
“Exactly who has resigned and who has been suspended is not altogether clear,” said one member of staff who asked not to be named. “It’s toxic. As a BASC employee I can tell you that people are too scared to speak out. They keep sending threatening letters to anyone who dares question them.”
The investigators admit astonishment at the goings-on in the charity. “We have however never had a situation ... where the respondents have declined to respond to the substance of the complaints and given their version of events. There has been clearly a culture of gossip, spreading rumours, and relying on hearsay,” said Hill Dickinson, which puts the cost of the debacle to BASC at between £140,000 and £175,000.
In a published statement in June, the chair of the BASC governing council, Alan Jarrett, said he had resigned because “it is obvious to me that council remains dysfunctional and unable or unwilling to take action against those ... named in the Hill Dickinson investigation into complaints”.
Christopher Graffius, director of communications at BASC, said: “We are trying to sort it out. We are going through the proper procedures. I cannot understand why anyone would want to send you this stuff. BASC is following due process on internal issues and is unable to comment further, to protect employment rights and all involved.”
In an earlier statement, BASC said: “Certain internal employment issues are currently being investigated at BASC and, to protect people’s employment rights and ensure confidentiality, we are unable to say more at this time.”