Hare coursing falls by third after police crackdown in Suffolk
- Credit: Frances Crickmore/iWitness/Charlotte Bond
Hare coursing has fallen by almost a third after a police crackdown in Suffolk.
Suffolk police teamed up with six other forces in September 2021 in a 'borderless' scheme to tackle rural crime.
As a result, it was found that incidents of hare coursing across the seven force areas fell from 2044 in 2020/21 to 1,415 the following year – a drop of 31%.
Borders between the forces of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent were removed when using certain tactics, making apprehending and prosecuting offenders easier.
Over the past six months, this is said to have helped with the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and the sharing of all interactions and movements of people suspected to be involved in hare coursing.
The move also supports the ongoing national initiative against hare coursing - Operation Galileo.
Hare coursing traditionally begins in September when the fields have been harvested and ploughed, making them the perfect ground for the illegal blood sport.
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Hare coursing causes damage to crops, harms animal welfare and threatens the rural community, and can result in intimidation and violence.
Sergeant Brian Calver, from Suffolk rural and wildlife team, said: “Hare coursing is a huge issue for farmers and landowners with many people living in fear of these criminals. This illegal activity damages property, threatens people's incomes and subjects people to fear and intimidation as well as causing unnecessary harm to our wildlife.”
“Our tactics, together with the issuing of Community Protection Warnings (CPWs), Community Protection Notices (CPNs) and the granting of Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) has seen a region-wide reduction of coursing incidents by almost a third.
“This is a great achievement by all seven forces and the CPS. Our collaboration shows how determined we are to tackle the barbaric actions of a few that cause significant physical and mental harm to those in our rural communities. We will continue with the collaboration and continue to work together to further reduce illegal coursing, lamping and poaching.”
Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, said: "I am particularly pleased with these outstanding results. These new collaborative arrangements between forces and other agencies have made a very significant impact on helping to reduce the levels of this appalling crime. Well done to all involved.
"The individuals who are behind illegal hare coursing are thoroughly unpleasant, violent and vile people so the sooner they are caught and punished severely the better and these results speak for themselves. This all helps make our valued rural communities safer."
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.