Wales introduces Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator

The new rural crime coordinator role will be piloted for 12 months
The new rural crime coordinator role will be piloted for 12 months

An all-Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator will be introduced to tackle the scourge of countryside crime in the country.

The coordinator will represent Wales strategically in regards to UK rural crime initiatives, as well as forums and priority delivery group meetings.

The Welsh government says it has provided funding to commence the pilot role for 12 months.

It comes as the cost of rural crime in the UK reached an eight year high in 2019, the latest figures by NFU Mutual show.

Countryside and farm crime cost the UK £54m in that year, an increase of almost 9 percent on the previous year.

The increase comes as organised gangs continue to target high value tractors, quad bikes and livestock.

Wales' Minister of Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said she took the issue of rural and wildlife crime 'very seriously'.

"[I] commend police forces in Wales for the great strides they have made to tackle this over the years.

"Working with our Welsh police forces we now have a unique opportunity to build upon the good work of our Rural Crime Teams to establish a dedicated all-Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Coordinator.

"I believe this police role could make a step change to the coordination, effectiveness and multi-agency response to rural and wildlife crime work."

NFU Cymru has recently said that more police officers should be deployed to rural areas to tackle the increasing criminal activity affecting farmers.

The union's rural affairs board chairman, Hedd Pugh said: “Rural crime, whether it’s attacks on our livestock, thefts of machinery or livestock, is something that has been causing increasing concern for farmers across the country.

"We are therefore pleased to see the Minister is taking this matter seriously by appointing an all-Wales rural and wildlife crime coordinator."