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Successful year for Cambridgeshire Police's rural crime team

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The force’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) has had another successful year, dealing with more than 1,000 incidents and launching 740 investigations.

The team of nine, which covers 1,309 square miles, also brought 66 prosecutions, all of which pleaded guilty or were found guilty at court.

The team’s biggest demand continues to be illegal hare coursing, lamping and poaching, but for the past two years there has been a decrease in these incidents thanks to Operation Galileo.

Galileo is a collaboration between the seven Eastern region police forces (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent) and the CPS and utilises borderless policing to tackle this type of criminality.

Cambridgeshire Police sees a successful year for rural crime team. (56565829)
Cambridgeshire Police sees a successful year for rural crime team. (56565829)

Borders between the forces were removed when using certain tactics, which has made apprehending and prosecuting offenders easier. The agreement means the forces become one when using certain powers.

This has helped with the use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), the seizure of dogs and the sharing of all interactions and movements of people suspected to be involved in hare coursing.

It also resulted in the team winning ‘Highly Commended Wildlife & Rural Crime Team’ at the 2021 National Wildlife Crime Unit conference.

RCAT supports the force’s six local neighbourhood teams in the north and south of the county, while also working in partnership with Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch, the National Farmers' Union and other partners.

Sergeant Tom Nuttall, who leads RCAT, said: “The past 12 months have been hugely successful for the team – reducing our biggest demand by 47 per cent – becoming borderless with the other seven eastern region rural crime teams.

“With all successes there comes areas of improvements within the team. As offenders evolve in crime, we must evolve to disrupt and prosecute.

“The team are dedicated to policing these areas, having a wealth of knowledge and experience, and working with our colleagues and partners to ensure the best for our rural communities.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Darryl Preston said: “It has been a fantastic year for RCAT. In my role as Commissioner I spend a lot of time out and about in our rural community. It is abundantly clear that RCAT have built firm foundations with those living and working in the countryside and are incredibly well respected and revered for their work.

“As we look to the future, new legislation which enables tougher sentences for hare coursers will support RCAT in their fight against rural crime.”

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