First made-in-Wales strategy to tackle rural crime launched

The strategy has been tailored to Wales’ needs and will be delivered through six priority groups
The strategy has been tailored to Wales’ needs and will be delivered through six priority groups

The first made-in-Wales strategy to tackle rural crime has been launched, with a focus on tackling farm equipment theft, sheep worrying and wildlife destruction.

The joint strategy, developed between the Welsh government and Wales’ four police forces, is set to be key in the fight against such offences.

Rural crime can come in many forms such as the theft of agricultural equipment, livestock offences and the destruction of wildlife and their habitats.

Rural theft alone was valued to cost £1.3 million in 2021, according to figures.

In 2021, Rob Taylor was appointed Wales’ Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator, the first role of its kind in the UK, and he will lead on facilitating the strategy.

He said: “Rural and wildlife crime can have a devastating impact, affecting rural communities, farmers, wildlife as well as habitats and our heritage.

“The launch of this first ever made-in-Wales strategy to integrate rural and wildlife crime will be vital in bringing Welsh government, police forces and partners together alongside my role as coordinator to tackle such offences.”

Amongst the objectives of the strategy is to work in partnership to reduce crime and protect rural communities, as well as to improve the knowledge and skills needed to support victims affected.

The strategy will provide training and opportunities to develop skills in a broad range of wildlife and rural crime issues, maximising use of partner agencies.

It will also better utilise technology and innovation to protect Wales' rural communities and wildlife.

The strategy will be delivered through six priority groups – bird crime; farm crime; habitats; mammals and European protected species; Welsh police rural supervisors; and mental health and domestic abuse.

Mr Taylor added that the strategy would follow the 4P plan to achieve success – prepare, prevent, pursue and protect.

"This means preparing for when such crimes might occur, preventing and deterring people from engaging in these offences, relentlessly pursue offenders and protect rural communities and wildlife from the impact of crime.”

Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths added that the launch of the strategy was a big step forward in tackling rural and wildlife crime in Wales.

"A key theme of this is partnership working and only by working together towards our common goal can we succeed," she said.

“The strategy sets out a clear vision for Wales which is tailored to our country’s needs."