Shailesh Vara welcomes measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to tackle illegal hare coursing and calls for maximum penalties to act as a powerful deterrent.
As a Cambridgeshire neighbour, I am well aware of the difficulties that the Bill seeks to put right. When the matter has been raised with the police, one of the main points that they make is that until now the legislation has had no teeth. When the Bill becomes law, hopefully they will have what they have always wanted. Does my hon. Friend agree that what we really need, once the Bill is on the statute book, is for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that the maximum penalties are inflicted on those who are found guilty, not only as punishment for them but to act as a powerful deterrent to others?
I agree with my hon. Friend in every regard. He has made the important point that when legislation is on the statute book, it must be enforced. I think he will agree with me, given the experiences we have both had in talking to local police, that they seek this legislation, they are waiting for it and they will act on it, and no doubt we are both keen to see that happen.