WILTSHIRE police have teamed up with the local council in a bid to "shut the gate" on rural crime.
The year-long Wiltshire Community Safety Partnership (WCSP) between Wiltshire Police and Wiltshire Council aims to target crime and other associated behaviours that cause distress to rural communities.
Wiltshire Police Sergeant Vincent Logue said: "As the supervisor for the Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team, I am very pleased to support this campaign which will highlight the issues faced by the rural community.
"We hope that by running this campaign, it will provide reassurance to the communities of Wiltshire that we are acting in a co-operative and robust way to help reduce unpleasant incidents, whilst sending out a clear message to criminals."
Throughout the year, the campaign will focus on a number of rural crime-related topics - the first one being hare coursing.
Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team (RCT) has noted an increase in incidents involving hare coursing in rural areas, an activity which has a huge impact on local communities.
Wiltshire Police have identified participants in the county from as far afield as Lincolnshire, Southampton and South Wales.
Sergeant Logue said: "There are a number of ways that the public can become involved in reducing rural crime.
"They can pass information on to Wiltshire Police through Crimestoppers, or sign up to 'Farmwatch' or 'Horsewatch' - mutually beneficial schemes run by us to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in rural areas."
The campaign is supported by Angus Macpherson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon.
Mr Macpherson said: "I very much welcome this initiative by Wiltshire Police and partners.
"In my police and crime plan I highlighted the rural community as one with which I am very keen to consult."
Following a rural crime survey this spring, Mr Macpherson said he intended to hold two rural crime conferences later in the year, in the north and south of the county.
"I am also encouraged that the chief constable has been talking about the recruitment of specials from within the rural community. Working together I am confident we can shut the gate on rural crime."
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