- Gloucestershire Constabulary has launched a dedicated rural crime team as part of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s commitment to neighbourhood policing
- Fighting rural crime is a key element of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and the Force’s neighbourhood policing strategy, which was launched earlier in the year
- PCC Martin Surl said, “Increasing the council tax has enabled the Chief Constable to re-shape his neighbourhood policing operation and recruit new officers to work more closely in rural communities”.
- Chief Inspector Richard Pegler, who is the Constabulary lead for rural and wildlife crime, said: I hope that the launch of this team will assure them of our commitment to tackling rural and wildlife crime.”
Gloucestershire Constabulary has launched a dedicated rural crime team as part of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s commitment to neighbourhood policing.
The team comprises four Rural Crime Officers (RCOs), one in each rural policing area, who will be led by a co-ordinator and supported by 23 Rural and Environmental Crime Officers (RECLOs) and volunteers.
Their role is to prevent, detect and investigate incidents of rural and wildlife crime and they will be working with members of the community and partner agencies.
Rural and wildlife crime has always been investigated in Gloucestershire, but many of the officers responsible have been doing so alongside other roles and in their own time.
Martin Surl, Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire, said “I have heard and understand how rural communities suffer from random thefts of machinery, poaching, hare coursing and other crimes against wildlife. And how difficult it can be for the police to tackle it in widespread areas where policing is less concentrated.
“Our dedicated officers across the county are working with rural communities to make sure they’re connected and can share intelligence whenever they see something suspicious – and working together as the police alone cannot solve all the problems.
“I have met these officers and am incredibly impressed by their specialist knowledge and professionalism and how they are making a real difference to the policing of the more remote parts of Gloucestershire.
“Increasing the council tax has enabled the Chief Constable to re-shape his neighbourhood policing operation and recruit new officers to work more closely in urban and rural communities”.
The creation of the new team means that that the officers and staff will be able to focus on these issues and have the support, including training in specific areas, to help them do their job.
24 officers and police staff took part in a nationally recognised Wildlife Crime Officers’ course which included sessions on The Hunting Act, Animal Welfare Act and legislation covering rural and wildlife crime. Among the instructors were representatives of the National Wildlife Crime Unit, RSPCA and others.
Heading up the Constabulary team is Sgt Carl Rugen-Hankey, who is based in the Forest of Dean. He said: “I am honoured to take on this role and I am confident that my team will continue to build on the good work they have already been doing in the rural communities.
“Our aim is to work with people in local communities on the matters that affect them most, so we need them to report things to us whether it is a concern, a crime or information they may have which might help an investigation”.
The RCOs are PC Ash Weller, Cotswolds, PC Cath McDay, Forest of Dean, PC Phil Mawdsley, Tewkesbury, and PC Mel Campbell, Stroud.
Senior officers are Inspector Karen Ellis,Cotswolds, and Chief Inspector Richard Pegler, force lead for rural and wildlife crime.
Chief Inspector Richard Pegler, who is the Force lead for rural and wildlife crime, said: “Fighting rural crime is a key element of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan and the Force’s neighbourhood policing offer, which we launched earlier this year.
“Criminals know no borders so it is essential that we work with others to look at the wider picture, as well as with the local residents who can do so much to help prevent and detect.
“I hope that the launch of this team will assure them of our commitment to tackling rural and wildlife crime.”