National Rural Crime Network praised in parliament

For immediate release

24 April 2014

AN innovative rural network set up to help combat crime in the countryside has been praised by a government minister. 

Bus services are being hit especially hard by local authoLaunched earlier this year, the National Rural Crime Network brings together Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) with other rural stakeholders [1].

So far, the initiative has been endorsed by 26 PCCs [2], as well as other supporters.

Despite being only a few months old, the network was praised by policing minister Damian Green during a debate in the House of Commons [3].

"It is good to see PCCs in rural areas coming together in that way," said Mr Green.

Mr Green told MPs: "One of the best things the network does is to ensure that best practice is shared, so that things can be co-ordinated and sustained effectively.

"The network wants to provide an online resource for the police, community safety practitioners and others precisely to share information, training and development, access to case studies and so on.

Mr Green added: "Altogether, the network is one of the more exciting developments, which will enable things to happen at a national level, although it is absolutely locally based and based on real world experiences.

"All those involved will be able to learn from one another and to work collaboratively on new ideas and solutions that will benefit local people."

The idea for a rural crime network originated with the Rural Services Network [4], which represents a diverse range of rural service providers in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Supporters include Farmers Weekly magazine, the national community safety network, an online crime reporting system called Facewatch, rural landowners and other stakeholders.

Nick Payne, of the Rural Services Network, said: "While rural crime might not be as numerous [as urban crime], its impact can be just as great."

Mr Payne added: "Rural areas can also face a higher fear of crime because populations are more elderly and isolated.

"Police budgets are under strain and not likely to get any better any time soon, so we want to assist the police where we can and ensure rural communities can become more resilient in preventing and deterring crime in their localities."


Media contact:

Nick Payne
Rural Services Network
T: 01822 813693


1. Endorsed by 26 of the UK's Police and Crime Commissioners, the objectives of the National Rural Crime Network are:

• To act as a multi-agency think tank on rural crime strategy
• To encourage and support the activities of those involved in making rural communities across England and Wales become and feel safer.
• To provide information and support for rural communities by promoting and facilitating the sharing of good practice.
• To develop and target good publicity to encourage stronger local response from the public in relation to reducing crime in rural communities.
• To 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.
• To act as a forum to consider effective Community Safety Initiatives across rural areas.

2. The 26 Police and Crime Commissioners who have endorsed the network are: Avon and Somerset, Cheshire Cleveland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, Essex, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Kent, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Thames Valley, Warwickshire, West Mercia, Wiltshire.

3. See Hansard, 9 April 2014, Column 116WH.

4. The Rural Services Network is a group of more than 200 organisations working together to improve the delivery of rural services across England. The two operating arms of the network are the Sparsity Partnership for Authorities Delivering Rural Services (SPARSE) and the Rural Services Partnership. Further information and a full list of members are available at

5. The Rural Services Network seeks to establish best practice across the spectrum of rural service provision. The network has representation across the complete range of rural services, including local authorities, public bodies, businesses, charities and voluntary groups. We are devoted to safeguarding and improving services in rural communities across England. We are the only national network specifically focusing on this vital aspect of rural life.

6. The Rural Services Network exists to ensure services delivered to the communities of predominantly and significantly rural England are as strong and as effective as possible. The term 'predominately rural' refers to counties and Local Authority districts with at least 50 percent of their population living in rural settlements (ie. rural towns, villages, hamlets and dispersed dwellings) as identified in the Office for National Statistics' rural definition, and including larger market towns as identified in the Defra classification of Local Authority districts. The term 'significant rural' refers to those Local Authorities who are between 25% and 50% rural under the same classification. The rural definition and classification were devised by the Rural Evidence Research Centre (RERC) at Birkbeck College. Further information on these can be found on the RERC website at


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