The dedicated police team, which is based at Matlock, has been at the forefront of a series of intelligence-led operations to tackle rural crime threats.
They include illegal fish poaching, hare coursing and thefts of quad bikes, tractors and trailers.
Its work has been so successful the team has now more than doubled in size to accommodate extra investigative work and make Derbyshire’s rural communities safer.
Shift patterns of team members were rejigged to maximise police visibility – with officers on duty during the evenings and early hours when rural residents are at their most vulnerable.
In addition, the team is leading the way in the introduction of new crime prevention methods such as diesel dye and Tec Tracer forensic livestock marking to help protect farm property.
The team launched in March 2017 to help protect rural communities across Derbyshire.
Upon launch, the team was composed of an inspector and two police constables.
But due to its success, the team has been extended and is now comprised of an inspector, sergeant, four police constables, the wildlife and rural coordinator and a police support volunteer.
Special constables are also attached to the team and have been involved in several operations while the team also leans on the expertise of the force’s 27 wildlife crime specialist officers.
It followed a pledge by Derbyshire police commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa to ensure the right resources were in place to tackle rural crime quickly and effectively.
Mr Dhindsa said: “Derbyshire’s Rural Crime Team is everything we hoped it would be – passionately fighting the crimes that bring misery to our rural communities.”
The team had improved communication between police and rural communities – and led to increased reports of rural crime which were subsequently investigated.
The team’s support volunteer has also been working in partnership with the NFU to attend Bakewell Agricultural Market every Monday to engage with farmers.
“In particular, we’ve seen an increase in membership to our Farm Watch scheme which is a fantastic crime prevention tool helping to warn farmers of live crime threats.
“Residents are full of praise for the team and its work and I’ve no doubt that it will continue to go from strength to strength in 2018 and I look forward to further successes in the future.”
Between March and September 2017, the team completed investigations into 34 rural crimes.
They included the theft of cattle, criminal damage, theft of scrap metal, burglaries and theft of agricultural equipment amounting to £123,000 in losses.
Since then, the team has investigated many more rural crimes.
The team has also been able to reopen rural crimes that had previously been closed to pursue new lines of enquiry which have often led to a successful outcome.
This would not have been possible without the support of partner organisations and the public who have fully supported and praised the service from the team.
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