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PRESS RELEASE - Dorset PCC supports tougher legislation on hare coursing

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset has come out in support of the National Farmers Union coalition proposal to enhance police powers in order to deter and prevent illegal hare coursing.

The move is aimed at addressing the challenge of limited policing resources and would provide a stronger deterrent to prevent illegal hare coursing activity in rural communities.

It would also enable the courts to ban convicted offenders from having dogs and enable courts to deliver harsher penalties by lifting the existing limit on fines as well as giving the police the ability to recover kennelling costs from offenders.

PCC David Sidwick said: “Rural communities across the country are rightly concerned about hare coursing. I have seen first-hand the damage that caused, not only to land but to livelihoods. It’s time that the 200-year-old legislation was brought up to date, so that those who commit this crime receive a sentence that befits this cruel and repugnant practice.”

Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator Claire Dinsdale said: “As part of the National Priority Delivery Group we have worked with other police forces around the UK and partners such as NFU, CLA and RSPCA to combat hare coursing and put forward requests for legislation and sentencing changes.

Dorset and Wiltshire attract criminals from other counties as well as having repeat offenders of their own, due to its abundance of arable land which the brown hare favours. Both police forces are part of Operation Galileo, 28 police forces working together to bring hare coursing criminals to justice.

“Seizing dogs and court orders banning them from counties or rural areas has a significant impact on these criminals.”

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