Threats and fear in wake of rural crime

Rural crime is costing farmers as much as £42.5m a year, says a report

Farmers have been victims of arson, vandalism and burglary, says the NFU study, launched at Westminster on Monday (17 July).

Many have experienced fear, intimidation and threats of violence.

Vehicle theft, hare coursing and fly-tipping are contributing to anger, frustration and worry, says the report.

The result is an increasing fear of crime in rural areas and significantly lower satisfaction levels in the police than the national average, it adds.

NFU deputy president Minette Batters is calling for a coordinated approach that sees police forces share best practice.

“With significant and varied differences across police forces, safety in rural areas has become a postcode lottery.

"Farmers are reporting dramatic increases in incidents and are feeling more vulnerable as these actions continue.

“Violent crime along with fly-tipping, hare coursing and theft are just a few examples of the crimes farm businesses are being subject to."

The NFU says there is no standard protocol across police forces for combatting rural crime, with some forces not even treating rural crime as serious crime.

It says this is leading to ‘criminal tourism’ with perpetrators often travelling long distances to target farm businesses.

The NFU is asking government and the Home Office to ensure increased and fairer funding for rural policing.

More than 1,000 rural police stations closed between 2000 and 2012, directly impacting the level of police surveillance, it says.

Mrs Batters said: “There are many very good examples of police forces taking action and implementing good practice to deal with rural crime, with great success.

“But we believe more joined-up thinking is needed.”

She added: “The NFU would like government to take the lead to ensure all constabularies adopt strategies of accurate recording and target setting and are willing to work together to find positive solutions to these challenges."


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