A NEW National Rural Crime Network, endorsed by Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) along with 17 others, has been set-up to help tackle rural crime more effectively.
Rural Services network officer, Nick Payne said: “There is a common perception that rural crime is less significant than that occurring in cities and towns.
“The impact of rural crime is just as serious as it is elsewhere which is becoming an increasing problem as austerity bites and as police resources are stretched thinner.
“There are also strong links to serious organised gangs in relation to some classifications of rural crime, for example, theft of agricultural plant and machinery as well as the availability of drugs alongside more conventional issues such as wildlife and heritage crime.”
The idea originated with the Rural Services Network, a non-profit organisation which represents a diverse range of rural service providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The Commissioners met with police officers and representatives from the Rural Services Network, Farmers Weekly magazine, National Community Safety Network, the online crime reporting system ‘Facewatch’, the Country Land and Business Association and other rural stakeholders, to explore the concept in more detail.
Alan Charles, Derbyshire’s PCC said “I heard about this initiative last year and was keen to get involved.
“Rural and wildlife crime is priority within our agreed local policing plan and we have already taken steps locally to tackle the problem.
“However, this unified national approach has much to commend it, and I am confident that an effective participation with others, learning about what works well and the best ways of assisting our rural communities in this regard will reap big rewards in Derbyshire.”
Mr Payne said: “There is good collaborative work already occurring in some localities but it is widely acknowledged that sharing of best practice is patchy and urgently needs to be improved.
“The network will ensure that this is effectively coordinated and sustained.”
It will also be developing strong links to academic research resources as well promoting successful techniques to encourage rural communities to become more self -resilient in these difficult times.
Once established the network will provide an online resource for police, community safety practitioners and others to interact, to share information, training development, access to case studies and link up with other mechanisms for reporting crime and suspicious behaviour.
Further information is available online at www.rsnonline.org.uk