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Don't forget rural police, minister told

The Home Office has been urged to remember rural communities when deciding how much money should be allocated to police forces to fight crime and anti-social behaviour.

The plea was  to Home Office Minister Nick Hurd by National Rural Crime Network chair Julia Mulligan, who is also North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Ms Milligan reiterated her belief that the key challenges faced by rural police forces are not properly reflected in the way funding decisions are made.

She made the plea for fairer funding speaking during a Westminster meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Crime.

Set up to ensure the voice of rural crime and policing is heard by politicians and policy-makers, the NRCN recently carried out its second national rural crime survey.

Some 20,000 people completed the survey, which aims to provide the evidence that will ensure the voice of rural communities cannot be ignored and is heard by ministers.

Ms Mulligan said: “Ministers are in no doubt of my view on this issue. The funding formula for police forces does not recognise the costs of policing rural areas. This needs to change.

“Providing services across large, sparsely populated geographical areas is expensive and, as resources come under even greater pressure, this is becoming even more challenging.

“The recommendations from the last National Rural Crime Survey, carried out in 2015, had fair funding as one of the priorities for change.

“Yet, three years on and despite our efforts, the challenge for rural police forces remains. I hope the Minister recognises that this situation cannot go on and that rural communities deserve better.”

Findings from the survey are due to be released in late July.

They will be presented to ministers as evidence of the challenge of policing rural communities, the key issues faced in the countryside and recommendations to address them.

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