Rural crime is 'policing priority'

Police and local partners have launched a partnership initiative to tackle rural crime in Northumberland.

A steering group of organisations attending the offical launch meeting included farm leaders, rural businesses, local police, county council and fire service representatives.

It was described as a step forward in getting a range of groups working together by Northumbria Police superintendent Andy Huddleston.

"We already work closely with our rural communities here in Northumberland to prevent crime," he said.

    See also: Police boss says fighting rural crime is priority

Recent weeks have seen other police forces have also named the fight against rural crime as a priority.

"But I feel this meeting has been an excellent step forward in getting a wide range of representatives from organisations who work in the county around the table.

"In particular we believe those organisations with members whose livelihood's often depend on the rural economy need to have a strong input on how we tackle crime and issues which directly affect them.

The partnership has three crime priorities.

They are working with rural communities to prevent crime, helping to reduce thefts of machinery and farming equipment and tackling travelling criminals targeting rural areas.

"By focusing on these three key areas we aim to keep Northumberland one of the safest places to live and work," said superintendent Huddleston.

The partnership approach to work with the rural community has been a mainstay of policing across the county over several years.

The force regularly carries out Operation Checkpoint with other forces to tackle travelling criminals.

It also works closely with volunteers accompanying officers while stopping and checking vehicles coming into Northumberland.

NFU Northumberland chairman Hugh Richardson said: "Rural crime continues to affect farmers across the county.

"We are pleased that the police are raising the profile of Rural Crime and working with other organisations to tackle the issue.

"The priority going forward must be to see police action on the ground and farmers must also take responsibility for reporting all crimes that are committed in order to help the police accurately monitor the levels in each area.

"We are looking forward to working with the police over the coming months."


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