Rural pa­trols tar­get hare cours­ing scourge

Hinckley Times - - NEWS -

TRAINED po­lice spe­cials are on the prowl to pre­vent hare cours­ers as hi-tech op­er­a­tions force the crim­i­nals out of their tra­di­tional hunt­ing grounds.

In­ci­dents of the bru­tal blood­sport, out­lawed in 2005 fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the Hunt­ing Act, are on the rise in Le­ices­ter­shire.

This may be due in part to in­creased use of technology by neigh­bour­ing po­lice forces, where hare cours­ing has long been an is­sue.

In Lin­colnshire, of­fi­cers have used drones to carry out search pa­trols in iso­lated spots, an ini­tia­tive called Op­er­a­tion Galileo.

Now, spe­cial con­sta­bles from Le­ices­ter­shire Con­stab­u­lary are work­ing with Lin­colnshire col- leagues and lo­cal farm­ers to tar­get cours­ers as part of this wider op­er­a­tion.

Spe­cial Con­sta­ble Joseph Dibb said: “As a spe­cial, I’m a fully trained po­lice of­fi­cer and can branch out into a num­ber of spe­cial­i­ties - rural crime be­ing one of them. The op­por­tu­nity arose to sup­port the neigh­bour­hood teams in Rut­land in their fight against hare cours­ing, so I de­cided to ex­pand my polic­ing knowl­edge and help a dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity. I’m au­tho­rised to re­spond to 999 calls so can pro­vide rapid re­sponse to re­ports of hare cours­ing in Le­ices­ter­shire.”

Hare cours­ing is the pur­suit of hares with dogs, usu­ally grey­hounds and other sighthounds. Tra­di­tion­ally of­fences be­gin to in­crease af­ter crops have been har­vested in au­tumn, and con­tinue un­til spring.

As well as the cru­elty to hares the ac­tiv­ity re­sults in damage to crops and fields and farm­ers may even be threat­ened with vi­o­lence.

Po­lice say there is of­ten a link between cours­ing and or­gan­ised crime, with thou­sands of pounds chang­ing hands bet­ting on which of two dogs will be the quick­est to turn and catch the hare.

Sergeant Nick Woodrow, the force’s lead for rural crime, said: “Op­er­a­tion Galileo is a regional op­er­a­tion to com­bat hare cours­ing. The as­sis­tance of the Spe­cial Con­stab­u­lary has en­abled us to in­crease our pa­trol ac­tiv­ity as well as give re­as­sur­ance to our com­mu­ni­ties that we are proac­tively tack­ling the is­sue. In­tel­li­gence from mem­bers of the com­mu­nity is vi­tal, and we would en­cour­age any­one who sus­pects some­one of com­mit­ting the of­fence to re­port it to us.”

The force is cur­rently re­cruit­ing spe­cial con­sta­bles, who are vol­un­teer po­lice of­fi­cers with the same pow­ers as reg­u­lar of­fi­cers.

If in­ter­ested visit the web­site: le­ics.po­lice.uk/join-us/spe­cials, or come along to an in­for­ma­tion sem­i­nar at po­lice HQ in En­derby on Wednesday October 25 from 6pm to 8pm. Reg­is­ter in­ter­est by email­ing re­cruit­ment@der­byshire.pnn.po­lice.uk with con­tact de­tails.

Spe­cial con­sta­bles have been drafted in to help pre­vent hare cours­ing across the county

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