More police needed in rural areas to fight crime, union says

Police with 'good local knowledge' are needed in the countryside, the farming union says
Police with 'good local knowledge' are needed in the countryside, the farming union says

More police officers should be deployed to rural areas to tackle the increasing criminal activity affecting farmers in recent days, NFU Cymru has said.

The union took its concerns to the Police and Crime Commissioner following a resurgence of rural crime, including livestock worrying and machinery theft.

NFU Cymru Livestock Board Chairman Wyn Evans, who himself had recently been the victim of rural crime after a savage dog attack, chaired the meeting with Dafydd Llywelyn.

Mr Evans, who farms near Aberystwyth, lost 7 ewes and a further five were injured after the attack involving two lurcher-type dogs on New Year’s Eve.

He has now called for the deployment of additional police officers who had 'good local knowledge and understanding' of the countryside to tackle the scourge of rural crime.

“I’m not only concerned about the financial losses that farmers are having to deal with, but also the vulnerability that families are feeling and the impacts that being victims of rural crime can have on their mental health," Mr Evans said.

“It is only through farmers and rural communities working together in partnership with local police and dedicated rural crime officers that we will stamp out rural crime."

He called on farmers to help by reporting every rural crime incident to the police, 'no matter how big or small', and to report any suspicious activity.

"We need to build an accurate picture of the level and extent of the problem of rural crime, and having accurate statistics will strengthen our lobbying for the increased level of resources and boots on the ground that are desperately needed."

Mr Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, said his force would look to respond to the needs of rural areas when it reviews its Rural Crime Strategy this year.

“This is a critical time for the rural community as farmers go into the lambing season," he noted.

“It is very important that we engage with local partners and the farming community to share our knowledge and best practice on tackling rural crime and dealing with rural issues."

The most recent figures available, released in August 2020, show that the cost of rural crime in the UK reached an eight year high in 2019.