A NEW approach to tackling rural crime has been established following a ‘ground-breaking’ police summit.
Plans for fighting countryside crimes in and around Ashbourne were put forward by police and crime commissioner Alan Charles at last week’s Rural and Wildlife Crime Summit, and include an expansion of the successful Farmwatch scheme, which is currently running in Ashbourne.
Derbyshire Police now plans to widen the scope of specialist rural officers to include wildlife and rural crime, Mr Charles told delegates at the conference in South Normanton.
He said: “I am delighted that as a result of this summit the force has agreed to put more formal structures in place to deal with these problems.
“But the force can’t work alone. It needs the expertise of different groups and partners to deliver effective solutions.
“The clear message is that we all need to work together – and we now have to put words into action.
“This includes running awareness campaigns to let people know what problems to report and who to.”
Mr Charles invited police, community safety partners and organisations to share their experiences and ideas and was pleased with the response.
He said: “I was greatly heartened by their commitment.
“You could actually feel their enthusiasm in the room.
“I’m pleased that, as PCC, I can put these issues on the local agenda via the Police and Crime Plan.
“I have done that, not just because it is something close to my own values but because the public have repeatedly said it is a key concern.”
The force is now planning training around wildlife and rural crime issues to ensure that they fully understand the significance of the information they are receiving.
Mr Charles added: “We need to tell the public what to look for and make it more widely known that there are links between the serious criminal who commits crimes against animals, wildlife and rural crime and other types of serious offences including organised crime.
“With increased awareness and reporting of these crimes, the police will have the necessary information to tackle them.”
Crime-related issues coming in to focus will include persecution of birds of prey, hare coursing and badger baiting, destruction of the environment and fly-tipping.