Hare coursing falls by third in the East of England after police trial 'borderless' crackdown

Hare coursing
Hare coursing figures have dropped by more than a third since the new method was adopted. Credit: PA Images

Hare coursing across the East of England has fallen by almost a third after a police crackdown on rural crime.

Forces across the region removed their borders and have been collaborating with their powers and tactics since August last year.

The forces that took part in the 'Borderless scheme' are Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent.

Incidents of hare coursing across the seven force areas dropped by 31%.

Norfolk’s rural crime officer, PC Chris Shelley, said: “Hare coursing has a terrible impact on our rural communities: it damages property, threatens people's livelihoods, and subjects people and families to fear and intimidation.

“It’s an issue we take very seriously, and we will take prompt and robust action to prevent this happening in Norfolk and pursue anybody committing this crime.”

Collaborating when using certain tactics helped police recognise number plates, seize dogs and share movements of the people suspected to be involved in hare coursing.

The scheme, also supported by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), has also made it easier to prosecute offenders after they are caught.

Sally Robinson, a District Crown Prosecutor for the CPS, said: “Those who commit hare coursing have historically exploited the borders of neighbouring forces to continue their illegal activities, causing the extreme suffering and unlawful killing of hares, whilst also having a harmful effect on our rural communities.

“By using the legal expertise of the CPS and the operational knowledge of seven police forces in an innovative and collaborative way to effectively remove those borders, we have collectively built stronger cases for prosecution and made it harder for the perpetrators to offend in the future.

The move also supports the ongoing national initiative against hare coursing, Operation Galileo, said the forces.