Rural crime needs to be a top police priority all year round, NFU says

The NFU is calling on Police and Crime Commissioners to make tackling rural crime a strategic objective all year round, following a national day of police focus on combatting crime in the countryside.

The National Police Chief’s Council on 8 November held a national day of action on the issue, encouraging all police forces to carry out activity to combat rural crime, including issuing warrants and making arrests.

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said that while this focus is welcome news for rural communities, tackling rural crime needs to be a strategic focus of police all year round.

He said: “The issue of rural crime is something that is brought up to me by our members at almost every meeting I attend. We have seen statistics showing that crime in the countryside is increasing and it is leaving farmers, growers and rural communities increasingly fearful.

“Not only do businesses see their machinery stolen or large-scale waste dumped on their land but they are frequently intimidated and threatened by the perpetrators. All of this can amount to serious disruption in the farm business but it also takes its toll on the farmer and their family.

“I commend the National Police Chiefs Council for encouraging all of their forces, whether they are rural or urban, to focus on tackling crime in the countryside and I am confident they will have made this day a great success.

“However, there needs to be this type of focus all year round and that starts at the top with Police and Crime Commissioners. The NFU has been continually engaging with the police on this issue and today’s focus shows that the seriousness of rural crime is beginning to be recognised.

“I hope to see more focus on this issue in the future and the NFU will continue to be the leading farming organisation taking this issue to the heart of government, police and civil service.”

The NFU has launched a Rural Crime Reporting Line in partnership with Crimestoppers. The line allows farmers to anonymously give information about large-scale industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, machinery theft and livestock theft by calling 0800 783 0137 or visiting www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk.

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