The change in tactics which Lincolnshire Police use in dealing with hare coursing offences has helped increase effectiveness.
The original Op Galileo team comprised of five officers who were expected to respond to incidents throughout the 2,687 square miles of Lincolnshire. This dedicated team worked hard and had many successes but the logistics of policing such a huge rural area meant that hare coursing incidents increased in 2014/15.
This season, following consultation with the Strategic Rural Crime Steering Group, it was agreed that a different approach was needed and the decision was made to equip and skill neighbourhood officers in the powers and legislation which relate to hunting with dogs.
At the halfway point in the season, it is clear that the new approach has enabled Lincs Police to deal more effectively with reports of hare coursing.
Last year, for the whole September to March season, 65 men were reported for summons relating to hare coursing and six vehicles were seized by the former dedicated Galileo team.
For the season so far this year, from September through to 22nd December, there have been 131 men reported and 10 vehicles seized.
In addition, in recent weeks, 44 other men have been dealt with by other enforcement action, such as Direction to Leave and traffic offences.
The force’s lead for rural crime, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner, said: “There were some mixed messages following our change of tactics this season, but I hope it is clear to everyone that Operation Galileo is here to stay. There is still a lot of work to be done to eradicate the scourge of hare coursing from our county and I remain determined to tackle this illegal act.”