Tuesday, 23 February 2016 20:57

New Rural Watch scheme launched

Written by  Ruralcity Media

A NEW scheme has been launched to unite rural communities in the fight against crime.

Rural Watch will create a network of villagers, farmers, churches and businesses in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Members aim to work together to address local policing issues, share information and combat crime affecting rural communities.

Leicestershire Police launched the scheme at Melton Cattle Market on Tuesday (23 February).

People who join the scheme are encouraged to become part of an alert system called FastText that will keep them informed of what's happening with they live and work.

Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said: "Our communities are vital in helping us to tackle crime. They are our eyes and ears when it comes to the areas in which they live.

"By encouraging them to report to us any suspicious activity, we can respond more effectively and work with them to make their communities even safer.

"Being a member of the scheme is a two way process.

"We will provide members with crime alert messages, telling them about incidents that have occurred and, in exchange, we ask our Rural Watch members to actively report suspicious persons, vehicles or activity to us by calling 101."

Rural Watch brings together several existing schemes, including Horse Watch, Church Watch and Farm Watch, which have been operating across Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland, to create a bigger network and to help ensure everyone has access to advice and information.

A number of crime prevention events taking place as part of the scheme.

They include barn meets, tack marking days and community contact activities, where people can get crime prevention advice assessments from local police officers or specific support and advice.

DCC Bannister added: "Rural Watch is designed to bring together all of the watch schemes under this one banner.

"We hope that it will give a clear message that the rural communities are committed to working together to actively prevent, deter and catch criminals affecting rural communities."

NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Tim Price said: "The Rural Watch scheme is a great opportunity for people to find out more about crime prevention.

Rural communities should remain vigilant and put security at the forefront of their minds."

For more information about the scheme, visit www.leics.police.uk/ruralwatch.

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