The rural strategy was launched by the National Police Chiefs Council at a rural summit meeting held in Harrogate on Thursday (26 July).
It is accompanied by a police strategy to combat wildlife crime.
Organised crime groups are targeting and exploiting rural communities across a range of crime
types, says the rural affairs strategy.
Offences include organised plant theft, livestock theft, burglaries targeting firearms, poaching and hare coursing, it adds.
“Our rural communities are perceived as soft targets with these organised criminals feeling they can go about their criminal activity undetected in large rural areas.”
Understanding and targeting these organised crime groups is essential to improving the situation, says the strategy document.
Police-led Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) have shown the offenders involved in organised acquisitive crime launder their proceeds through other activities.
Gangs which rip out ATM machines in rural areas, for example, sometimes launder their proceeds through activities such as gambling at illegal hare coursing events.
Similarly, legally held firearms stolen from from rural properties are sometimes later used in armed robberies, drug distribution, and kidnap and extortion.
The strategy says the police cannot solve crime problems alone.
Engagement with rural communities is essential in helping police catch the offenders and contribute to strengthening safe and prosperous rural communities, it adds.
The strategy says police will harness the passion, expertise, and contributions of partners joining
policing efforts against rural crime.
Police will adopt a clear philosophy based upon intelligence-led and evidence-based
approaches to effectively prevent crime where possible, it says.
Strategic, regional, and local development plans will be develped with agreed priorities and support to ensure police efforts against crime are appropriately resourced, tested and assessed.
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