THE government has confirmed a two-year funding package for a newly created National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) operating across England and Wales.
Funding of almost £40,000 was announced by the Home Office on Monday (28 July).
It will be used to provide information and support for rural communities by encouraging direct interaction between businesses, organisations and the police.
The concept for a rural crime network was developed by the Rural Services Network (RSN), working alongside most of those PCCs serving rural communities.
The network brings together 28 Police and Crime Commissioners – as well as their Police Forces – with other national rural stakeholder organisers.
Nick Payne, RSN officer said: "This award is a fantastic boost for what has been universally seen as a vital and unique initiative.
"The costs of the project are very modest when set against the significant improvements in performance that will accrue on a national basis through the effective sharing of information and best practice.
"It's good to receive this welcome official recognition so early in the life of the project.
"The Home Office's grant will be put alongside individual funding pledges from each of the PCCs and commercial sponsorship kindly provided by NFU Mutual."
The funding will secure the network's operation for the first two years, said Mr Payne.
From year three, it is anticipated that the network would become fully self-funding through member subscriptions and sponsorship, added Mr Payne.
Funding will be used by the network to encourage rural communities to participate in local crime prevention initiatives.
It will also be used to help network members share best practice when it comes to detecting, preventing and deterring rural crime across England and Wales.
The NRCN, which is led by North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan, has been granted £39,200 from the Home Office's Police Innovation Fund – a £50 million fund for projects that encourage collaboration between emergency services and communities.
Policing Minister Mike Penning said: "The National Rural Crime Network will help support rural communities and businesses that are all too often targeted by ruthless criminals who consider homes and property in the countryside an easy target.
"This collaborative approach between North Yorkshire Police and dozens of PCCs around England and Wales will enable forces and neighbourhoods to become more resilient in preventing these crimes and protecting businesses and communities in rural areas."
In addition to working with National Neighbourhood Watch and Crimestoppers, the NCRN will encourage the development of strong links between national policing leads for rural and wildlife crime, for heritage crime, and for interested organisations such as the National Farmers Union and English Heritage.
The Home Office believes greater collaboration between the emergency services will improve standards and drive out inefficiencies.
Many PCCs are exploring opportunities for integration. The Government wants to see more of this and the funding announced today will support such innovation.
NRCN chairman and Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan said: "I am delighted by this tremendous official endorsement for this vital initiative.
"Once fully operational the network will help enable a better response to the problems of rural crime and anti-social behaviour.
"This novel concept brings together over 68% of the PCCs across England and Wales with other organisations in the fight against rural crime.
"While rural areas typically tend to be safer and less troubled by criminality and anti-social behaviour compared to their urban counterparts, the impact of rural crime can be greater on those unlucky victims in rural locations.
"This Network ensures we give these crimes the focus and attention they deserve."
Endorsed by 28 of the UK's Police and Crime Commissioners, the objectives of the National Rural Crime Network are:
• Act as a multi-agency think tank on rural crime strategy.
• Encourage and support the activities of those involved in making rural communities across England and Wales become and feel safer.
• Provide information and support for rural communities by promoting and facilitating the sharing of good practice.
• Develop and target good publicity to encourage stronger local response from the public in relation to reducing crime in rural communities.
• Encourage regional fora and facilitate a national forum for discussions between relevant rural partners and appropriate national organisations and watch groups on rural crime issues.
• Act as a forum to consider effective Community Safety Initiatives across rural areas.
The 28 Police and Crime Commissioners supporting the network are:- Avon and Somerset, Cheshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, Essex, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, West Mercia, Wiltshire.
In addition to Police and Crime Commissioners, other participating organisations include the National Farmers Union, the Country Land and Business Association, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, NFU Mutual and Farmers Weekly magazine, among others.
The NRCN is also supported by leading academics and the National Community Safety Network.
For an interview with Tim Passmore (Suffolk PCC and Vice Chairman of the NRCN) please click on the below link:
(The interview begins at 2 hours 12 minutes in to the show and ends at 2 hours 17 minutes)
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