NFU launches open letter calling on police to make rural crime a priority

Rural crime cost the UK £49.5 million in 2022, according to the latest figures
Rural crime cost the UK £49.5 million in 2022, according to the latest figures

The NFU is campaigning for urgent action to stamp out rural crime as Police and Crime Commissioner elections soon take place in England and Wales.

Police and Crime Commissioners are elected to make sure that the local police in their area are meeting the needs of the community.

But farming groups warn that rural communities do not feel adequately protected against criminals and organised crime gangs.

Theft of large and small machinery, fly-tipping, dog attacks on livestock and hare coursing continue to blight farming communities.

As a result, rural crime cost the UK £49.5 million in 2022, according to the latest figures.

However, the full scale cost and social impact of crime in rural areas is thought to be underestimated, under-reported and not fully understood.

The NFU, which has launched an open letter to every single elected PCC, said the elections offered a timely opportunity to shine a light on these issues.

Survey work carried out for the union shows that 71% of the public believe rural crime should be treated more seriously by the police.

"The elections will be taking place on 2 May. You have until 12 May to sign this letter and back our call for better rural policing," the NFU said.

"The NFU is also inviting all candidates in the upcoming PCC elections to meet local farmers to hear first-hand the impact of criminal activity on farming businesses and discuss steps to help combat this threat.

"Alongside making rural crime a priority at a local level, the NFU continues to campaign for a consistent and coordinated response to rural crime across government and police forces."

What does the open letter ask for?

The NFU will be sending an open letter to every single elected PPC, calling on them to:

• Ensure priorities for addressing rural crime are detailed in their police and crime plan.

• Recruit a dedicated rural crime specialist.

• Engage regularly with the farming community.

• Deliver effective response and investigation of crimes impacting farm businesses.

• Work with farm businesses on effective crime prevention strategies.

• Develop a strategy to counter the impact of organised crime groups operating in rural areas.

• Provide greater rural crime training for officers and control centres.