PCC supports extra focus on rural crime

Tim Passmore is supporting an initiative which will see Suffolk officers dedicated to tackling offenders who target farms and rural communities.

Rural crime comes in many different forms, ranging from offences against wildlife, such as hare coursing, theft of fuels including diesel and heating oils and stealing metal.

Now, police are strengthening their response to those who commit these crimes by introducing the following:

• A new team of Special Constables, who will work in the Mid-Suffolk area. Their remit will be to engage with rural businesses and communities on a regular basis, pro-actively patrolling farms and rural spaces to provide reassurance and prevent offences, working to reduce rural problems such as fly-tipping/ anti-social behaviour, gathering intelligence and targeting identified rural crime hot spots. It is hoped that setting up a dedicated team will not only help catch criminals but develop methods for preventing rural crime in the first place. The team will be working in conjunction with local Safer Neighbourhood Teams in Mid-Suffolk.

• Dedicated rural crime police officers, who will work closely with the team of Specials, but will have a particular focus on hare coursing. These officers will pro-actively engage with farming/rural communities, offering advice and patrolling areas where hare coursing has occurred previously or is likely to deter offenders.

Tim Passmore, Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk said, “Rural crime doesn’t always get the media’s interest, but it can have a devastating effect on those living and working in our rural and farming communities.

“Suffolk has a relatively small police force covering a large rural county and this brings its own unique challenges. If we are to make a positive impact we need to work closely with rural communities, so I wholly support this work being carried out by the Constabulary, working with the Country Land and Business Association, the NFU and others.

“We need the help of everyone who lives and works in the countryside to play their part to help prevent rural crime and I am particularly grateful to the Special Police Officers who add their specific skills in this area.

He added, “I want more visible frontline policing, and I am working with the Constabulary to reduce bureaucracy and improve the use of technology to improve police response times in remote areas.”

The initiative has been launched as a direct response to concerns raised by farmers and residents in rural areas – and has seen police working closely with the Country Land and Business Association.

CLA East Director Nicola Currie added: “More than 60 farmers met with police and the CLA in Stowmarket last month to discuss how to tackle hare coursing. The CLA organised the talks so that the police could hear everyone’s concerns directly. It is pleasing that Suffolk Police has reacted so positively.”

Local farmer David Styles said: “I am really pleased to support Suffolk Constabulary in this. Crime is an important issue to all farmers and businesses as well as the people living in the rural communities, so it is good to see an initiative launched to specifically tackle this and improve communication with the rural community as a whole.”

And Suffolk Constabulary’s Assistant Chief Constable Tim Newcomb added:
“Rural crime is a key area of concern to us. Our Safer Neighbourhood and Community Safety Teams already work closely with local communities and have been successful in setting up Farm Watch schemes around the county, which helps people get involved and become the eyes and ears of their local area.

“This campaign will focus on rural issues and the dedicated Rural Crime Officers will complement the existing work of officers in the county.”

*Suffolk Constabulary is grateful for the continued support of Ernest Doe of Marlesford and Case IH Tractors, who throughout 2012 have helped raise the profile of rural crime via a specially liveried tractor which was provided free of charge.