Land Law Finance - Issue 14 - Autumn 2019

The industry is tackling this issue through the ‘Mind Your Head' campaign launched by the Farm Safety Foundation to raise awareness and understanding of mental health in agriculture. New technology to protect livelihoods Farmers are turning to new technology to protect their fields and farmyards using a range of innovative measures, the report shows. These include devices such as infra-red beams which send alerts to mobile phones being used to protect farm yards; geo-fencing, which triggers an alarm if tractors go beyond farm boundaries, and livestock marking which puts thousands of micro-dots into fleeces. Police too are using technology to catch rural criminals including operating drones for investigations and using social media networks to share intelligence with rural communities. Mr Price said that by combining modern technology with physical fortifications, farmers are trying to keep one step ahead of the thieves. “Together with digging ditches and putting up earth banks to prevent criminals getting on to farm land, these electronic devices are proving to be effective weapons in the fight against rural crime. “This is increasingly important because today’s determined thieves come armed with battery-powered angle grinders which can cut through chains and padlocks in seconds to access farm buildings and tool sheds,” he said. Specialist police resources Since 2010 NFU Mutual has invested £1.5m in security initiatives including a specialist police resource through the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) coordinating theft intelligence between police forces, Border Force and Interpol. While tractor theft rose 26% to £7.4m last year, it is still below its peak of £10million in 2010. Mr Price added: “The good news is that security technology is developing fast and we’re already clearly seeing that thieves avoid tractors fitted with good security kit and sheep that have been marked with microdots. “Innovative use of social media to report criminal activity is also working well in some areas - and reducing isolation. “There’s no doubt that when police, farmers and other rural organisations tackle rural crime in an organised way they get results,” he said. The report's figures are used by police forces to help them understand rural crime on their patch and plan rural police responses. In Scotland, NFU Mutual provides financial support for the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC). It also provides support and expert advice to local farm and rural watch schemes. Issue 14 L and L a w F inance 21

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