Rural crime 'a top priority' ahead of police elections

Candidates for the PCC elections next month have been urged to tackle rural crime
Candidates for the PCC elections next month have been urged to tackle rural crime

The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidates are being encouraged to do more to protect farmers and rural communities from crime.

The rise in crime continues to devastate rural communities across the UK, often leaving farmers threatened and intimidated by callous criminals.

Because of the growing issue, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has written to every PCC candidate asking them to take pledges ahead of the elections on 6 May.

The countryside group's rural crime manifesto urges candidates to focus on wildlife crime, improved education of the Countryside Code and more joined-up enforcement work.

The CLA also urges all PCC candidates to provide greater support and resources for the National Rural Crime Network.

Mark Bridgeman, president of the CLA said: “In this election PCC candidates have a golden opportunity to show they are serious about protecting rural communities through targeted funding and adaptation of policing for rural areas.

“While some police forces have boosted their efforts to tackle rural crime, many are inadequately resourced.”

According to a recent report, 69% of farmers and rural business owners have been a victim of crime over a 12-month period.

And the CLA estimates that the average financial impact of rural crime per incident costs nearly £5,000.

Mr Bridgeman added: “It’s paramount that PCCs understand the financial and psychological damage inflicted upon victims of crime in rural areas, and develop a meaningful strategy to reduce it.

“Any candidate worth their salt should back our manifesto, and promise to work with us to make our communities safer.”