Stark new rural crime figures reveal the urgent need for a dedicated rural police team in each police force and fair funding for rural policing.
New figures from the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) show that:
· Only 27% of respondents say their local police are doing a good job
· 69% of farmers and rural-specific business owners have been a victim of crime over the past 12 months
· 60% of farmers and rural-specific business owners said they are fairly or very worried about becoming a victim of crime in the future
· The number of crimes going unreported to the police is up by a third for residents and two-thirds by businesses in rural communities
The NFU, which sits on the executive board of the NRCN as its only farming representative, has consistently called for dedicated rural police teams to better protect already isolated and vulnerable areas.
NFU Deputy President Guy Smith said: “These new figures reinforce what farmers and rural businesses have known for many years – rural crime is on the rise and dedicated rural police resource is needed to tackle the problem.
“The NFU has long-called for dedicated rural police teams in each force to tackle this growing problem. We have seen some great examples of police forces getting on the front foot with its rural policing and it is now time to see other forces following suit.
“The fact that over two-thirds of farmers and rural businesses have been victims of crime in the past 12 months shows that appropriate action needs to be taken to ensure farmers can do what they do best – producing safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation.
“The NFU will continue to work with government, police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners to work towards solutions that allow farmers, who already feel isolated and vulnerable, to be better protected.”
These figures follow the launch of the NFU’s 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.