A new Farm Watch scheme has been launched across Mid and East Antrim to help tackle rural crime.
It will see the Mid and East Antrim’s Community Safety Partnership, the PSNI and Ulster Farmers’ Union, work together to reduce the threat of crime on rural communities and spread safety advice.
PCSP Chair councillor Brian Collins said: “With almost two thousand farm related businesses across the Borough, we have a significant rural community to protect. This partnership is extremely welcome to help maintain those livelihoods that not only prop up our economy, but make up our fantastic communities here in Mid and East Antrim.
“Farm Watch will see the rural farming community working closely with Council, the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs, the Department of Justice and Police. This collaborative working approach helps us build stronger, safer communities.
“This Farm Watch scheme is to prevent and detect crime. Sharing information and encouraging vigilance is key to making people feel safer in their homes and businesses.
“I would encourage everyone to sign up to Farm Watch and to the Text Alert service and to feel confident that you can report anything that you think may be suspicious to the police. Through the Farm Watch scheme, the police will also share any information they can with you. It may only seem like a small bit of information but it may well be part of a bigger picture.”
Chief Inspector Stephen Humphries said: “It is important that we all work together to make the countryside safer for everyone. Preventing crime and being switched on to crime prevention will help to protect your community and a farmer’s livelihood. That’s why we are delighted to be involved in this re-launch of Farm Watch and to use this platform to raise awareness and spread the crime prevention message.
“Don’t make life easy for the criminals. Reporting promptly to the police any activity that raises your suspicions is a good way to initiate an investigation and will help to deter criminals and reduce crime in your area.
“Many farms, by their nature, are in isolated areas of the countryside and the police are urging rural communities to work with them, and together, to prevent crime and deter. It is important that we all work together to make the countryside safer for everyone.
“FarmWatch is a wonderful initiative and I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved. By working together, we can help stamp out rural crime.”
By signing up to the scheme you will be provided with signage to put up around your property, receive vehicle security marking, receive safety advice and contact numbers to report crime or suspicious activity.
To get more information you can contact Mid and East Antrim PCSP on 02828 262461 or go to www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk