Increasing levels of criminality in the countryside have prompted the farmers’ union in England to call on Police and Crime Commissioners to make tackling rural crime a strategic objective all year round.
The appeal by NFU deputy president, Guy Smith, follows a national day of police focus on combatting crime in the countryside when all police forces were encouraged to carry out activity, including issuing warrants and making arrests.
Mr Smith said that while the focus was welcome news for rural communities, statistics showed 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,” he said.
“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.”
In Scotland NFU Mutual supports the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) and provides support and expert advice to many local farm and rural watch schemes.
Elsewhere it has funded a specialist agricultural vehicle police officer through the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) for the good of the farming industry coordinating farm machinery theft information between police forces, Border Force and Interpol.
NFU Mutual is also one of the key stakeholders with the Plant & Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU).