Ulster Farmers' Union is rolling out on-farm training to all PSNI districts

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is rolling out on-farm training to all Police Service of Northern Ireland districts, as a result of the successful pilot session with Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon officers.

Training is hosted on a member’s farm and consists of a farm tour covering the basics of farming such as tagging and the movement of animals, livestock handling on public roads, machinery, on-farm hazards, biosecurity, animal activists and mental health.

UFU deputy president William Irvine said: “If you’re not from a farming background, it can be difficult to manage certain calls relating to a farm business or rural areas with confidence, which is why we’re rolling out this training to give officers insight into a working farm. It will equip them with the necessary skills to handle extremely difficult and distressing issues experienced by farm families. This will come through in the officer’s communication when working on the case, helping to ensure the farm family that they’re in good hands and the matter is being handled appropriately and efficiently.”

PSNI Supt. Johnston McDowell, rural and wildlife lead, added: “Rural communities play an essential role in the local economy. Thefts of livestock and equipment can not only hamper a farmer’s ability to do the job, but can cause significant upset, inconvenience and loss of income. Police understand this and that’s why we are delighted to have this opportunity to further ‘up skilling’ officers to develop their knowledge in tackling rural crime."

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is rolling out on-farm training to all Police Service of Northern Ireland districts, as a result of the successful pilot session with Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon officers.

The UFU and PSNI are also working together to develop classroom-based training for all PSNI officers to begin in spring 2023.