Seven police forces in England have removed the borders between them in a bid to crack down on hare coursing in the east of the country.
The agreement between Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk police, which has been completed with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service, means the seven forces become one when using certain powers.
This will assist with the use of automatic number plate recognition, the seizure of dogs and the sharing of all intelligence on people suspected to be involved in hare coursing.
The move supports the ongoing national initiative, Operation Galileo, which pools the resources of forces from across the UK to try to disrupt hare coursing.
Ch Insp Terry Balding, of Essex Police, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to reach this agreement. It’s an important step forward in our ongoing efforts to tackle hare coursing and rid our rural areas of this cruel blood sport.”
Essex Police said the agreement meant anyone caught committing antisocial behaviour in, for example, Norfolk would be seen as also committing the offence in Essex.
“If the same person were to carry on their behaviour in Kent, proactive measures can take place using antisocial behaviour legislation, and if that same person was to continue for a third time, in say Bedfordshire, a prosecution can commence – alongside any other action – as a result of earlier behaviour,” Ch Insp Balding added.
The new measures mean that if someone is involved in three incidents of antisocial behaviour linked to hare coursing they will be prosecuted, irrespective of where they commit the offences.
Dog and vehicle seizures
Prosecution would then allow police to apply for court orders following conviction. These can include driving bans and seizures of dogs and vehicles.
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.
Police say it is important people do not confront hare coursers or put themselves at risk.