A new approach is being taken by officers across the East of England in an effort to combat hare coursing.

Kent Police has teamed up with six other forces to offer a borderless response to tackle the illegal blood sport. This means that the seven forces signed up to the partnership can work as one when exercising certain powers such as the seizure of dogs and share interactions and movements of suspects.

The forces within Kent’s partnership are made up of Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Herefordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

The agreement, which has been completed with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service, supports the national initiative, Operation Galileo, which primarily aims to combat hare coursing.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force said: ‘This is an encouraging step in our efforts to tackle hare coursing.

‘The agreement allows us to use anti-social behaviour legislation across the counties. This means that someone who is found to be committing hare coursing offences across several borders will be dealt with as if all of their criminality had occurred in one county and a prosecution can commence sooner. In short, if someone is involved with three incidents of anti-social behaviour linked to hare coursing, they will be prosecuted regardless of where those offences have been committed.’

Sergeant Darren Walshaw

Hare coursing traditionally coincides with the harvest when the fields are ploughed, making them the perfect ground for the illegal blood sport. Hare coursing causes damage to crops, harms animal welfare and threatens the rural community. It can result in intimidation and even violence.

Landowners are urged to consider blocking entrances to their fields with ditches, fencing or trees or even barriers like barrels filled with concrete.

Anyone who sees hare coursing taking place is asked to contact police immediately on 999 and provide officers with a description of the people involved, any registration numbers, vehicle descriptions and the location and direction of travel. Its important people don’t confront hare coursers or put themselves at risk.

By Ed

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