Talking with a Nottinghamshire farmer targeted twice by thieves this year has reinforced Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping’s conviction that preventing rural crimes calls for special understanding, dedicated teams and closer community working.
During his rural visit to the South Muskham area near Newark, Mr Tipping talked to a farmer whose loading shovel worth £70,000 was recently stolen from his cattle yard. Earlier this year, two masked raiders broke into the farm’s workshop and buildings and stole a pickup, fuel bowser and some tools. Currently, the same farmer has issues with hare coursing and fly tipping.
Others gave accounts of their experiences and said that they were sometimes reluctant to report crimes, particularly when there was little financial implication, due to pressure on police resources. Urging people to use the 101 non-emergency number and report crimes, the Commissioner and Chief Insp Andy Rooke both assured those present that by doing this they raised awareness of the problem within the force. Other issues discussed included the wish for an on-line reporting facility for crime, which is currently in development, and the need to raise awareness amongst rural communities.
Already strongly committed to reducing rural crime in his 2015-18 Police and Crime Plan, Mr Tipping commented: “Crimes such as those I’ve heard about today underline the fact that many rural issues are different to those in urban communities. Our police are aware of that, and have made considerable strides in recent months in tackling them.
“I believe that we can do more through effective use of policing resources, partnerships and community working.”
One new aspect of protection for rural communities comes from the Rural Special Constables based at Ollerton, he said. Working with Neighbourhood Policing Teams, their aims include problem solving designed to meet each community’s needs.
“They will also be helping people protect their property by target hardening homes and businesses, and preventing and investigating offences that range from theft of livestock, drug dealing and cannabis cultivation to wildlife and environmental crime,” he pointed out.
Mr Tipping also highlighted the value of a scheme chosen for Bassetlaw to monitor the number plates of vehicles suspected of being connected with crime - an operation that saw a 50% fall in burglary in the Ashfield area compared with the previous year.
He added: “Crime prevention is, of course, always the best solution, which is why awareness and the sharing of information among our rural communities is so very important.”
Thanking the people who had turned out to meet him, the PCC said that another meeting would be arranged to discuss progress. “When you talk about these things face to face you get a better feeling for the problems and how we can help. Today was a really useful meeting and I’m determined to follow up progress in the New Year,” he said.
With this in mind, Nottinghamshire Police has designed crime prevention guides for people in rural areas to access via: http://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/advice/ruralcrime
Members of the public can also sign up for local email updates via: www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/alert which gives access to current offence details and local information specific to individual neighbourhoods.