MP 'to work with commissioner' to combat rural crime fears
PUBLISHED: 07:44 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:44 18 September 2019
MP Kemi Badenoch says she is working closely with the police, fire and crime commissioner for Essex in an effort to tackle hare coursing.
The announcement came after Mrs Badenoch, MP for Saffron Walden, spent time talking about rural crime with farmers from the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales, which prompted her to highlight that farming is a 'vital industry' for the local and national economies.
She said: "Incidents of rural crime cause significant concern to local farmers who have to pay the price for the damage to their land, homes and livelihoods and to our countryside."
Kemi is closely collaborating with commissioner Roger Hirst, in order to reduce hare coursing incidents and raise awareness about rural crime.
She added: "I support the work the Conservative government is already doing, such as increasing police numbers by 20,000 over three years which will help to tackle rural crime and keep our communities safe."
Hare coursing incidents in Essex have more than doubled since 2013, according to police figures
A freedom of information request to Essex Police showed that there were 393 incidents of hare coursing in 2017-18, compared to 141 in 2013-14.
Hare coursing, illegal under the Hunting Act 2004, causes damage to crops, harms animals and threatens the rural community, often resulting in intimidation and, in some cases, violence.
In January, coursers caused £4,500 worth of damage to property in Saffron Walden in just a single day.
The hare coursing season usually starts with in September, once fields are harvested, but weather conditions this year meant an earlier start to the activity.
Kemi Badenoch was elected as Member of Parliament for the Saffron Walden constituency in 2017. She served as vice chairman of the Conservative Party and a member of the Justice Select Committee under former prime minister Theresa May. She was promoted to a ministerial role in the Department for Education when new Prime Minister Boris Johnson took office in August.