- Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson says a reported reduction in rural crime in Gloucestershire is not before time
- Figures compiled by farming insurance specialists NFU Mutual, show a 27% fall in the cost of rural crime in the county is well above the national average
- Lockdown kept criminals out of the countryside, but the report’s authors, praised Gloucestershire Constabulary for its innovative work towards rural crime reduction
- Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson welcomed the report but challenged the Constabulary to keep up the good work
- Meanwhile, Gloucestershire Constabulary has become one of the first forces in the country to sign up to Heritage Watch, which brings heritage crime under the remit of rural crime.
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson has welcomed a reported reduction in rural crime in Gloucestershire.
According to the latest Rural Crime Report by farming insurance specialists NFU Mutual, rural crime has dropped by more than a quarter in 2021.
The report found that the cost of crime in the county reduced by 27 per cent – more than the national average of 20 per cent.
Although lockdown and travel restrictions played a part, NFU representatives also praised the work of Gloucestershire Constabulary as ‘vital’ and ‘innovative’.
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Nelson promised to focus on rural crime as part of his election manifesto and said the report provided a promising picture: “The Constabulary has been working on some very innovative schemes to tackle rural crime, but we can’t ignore the influence of the pandemic on these figures.
“It’s positive to hear that there are good lines of communication between Gloucestershire’s farmers, the rural communities and our rural policing teams, but there have still been increases in dog theft and we’re hearing that crime gangs are starting to target specialist GPS equipment instead of large tractors and machinery in some parts of the country.
“This issue is far from solved, and I challenge the Constabulary to keep up its dedication to ensure that rural communities don’t feel overlooked.”
Dog attacks on livestock were up by 50 per cent in the last year, most likely, according to the report’s authors as a result of an increase in dog ownership and people using their local countryside more often.
The NFU report also suggests that organised crime gangs (OCGs) are currently less likely to target big tractors but are setting their sights on specialist equipment like GPS systems, which can be transported into Europe and sold online.
Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Rural Crime Unit is praised for its innovative approach using a number of ideas like dry ditches to protect farms, and the Constabulary has also become one of the first forces in the country to sign up to Heritage Watch, which brings heritage crime under the remit of rural crime.
Detective Superintendent Paul Keasey is director of intelligence and specialist operations: “It’s really encouraging to hear the NFU praise the Constabulary’s rural crime unit, but we are far from complacent.
Some of the issues our teams are still seeing include livestock worrying, caused by dogs off the lead. We’re using a range of channels to keep in contact with farmers, land owners and rural communities to take action based on the intelligence provided to us.”
Mr. Nelson said, “what has been achieved is really impressive but whether in the countryside or our towns and cities, the police cannot do it all on their own.
“Dedicated teams working in partnership with rural communities and farmers sharing information is the best way to tackle rural crime and I’m pleased this reports highlights that”.