Police strategies need to deliver for farmers and rural communities

25 July 2018, at 12:12am

A new national strategy launched today recognises the serious issue of crime in the countryside after sustained engagement by the NFU with police leaders

The NFU’s Rural Crime Report played a key role in developing the priority areas for the National Police Chiefs Council Rural Affairs Strategy, launched today at its Rural Affairs Summit.

The police priorities in the Rural Affairs Strategy are:

  • Farm machinery, plant and vehicle theft
  • Livestock offences
  • Fuel theft
  • Fly-tipping
  • Poaching (including hare coursing)
  • Equine crime

NFU Deputy President Guy Smith is speaking at the event today and will reiterate that rural communities are becoming increasingly frustrated by police responses to rural crime.

“Farmers and rural businesses are on the frontline of crime in the countryside and are feeling more vulnerable as they experience the brunt of rural crime,” Mr Smith said.

“The NFU told the National Police Chiefs Council earlier this year that farms should not become a ‘soft target’ for criminals but unfortunately we are seeing the levels of rural crime increase.

“The strategies launched today simply have to deliver for rural communities. They are a significant step forward from the police, who now clearly recognise the serious issue of crime in the countryside. I am pleased that the National Police Chiefs Council has listened to the concerns of farmers and included many of the NFU’s suggestions in their strategies.

“There is a lot more that the police and Police and Crime Commissioners can do, in partnership with the government, to take rural crime more seriously.

“The NFU continues to call for every police force to have a dedicated rural police team and this is so important to make farmers and rural communities, who are already isolated, feel less vulnerable and more protected by their local police forces.”

The summit follows the launch of the NFU’s Rural Crime Reporting Line in partnership with Crimestoppers. The line allows farmers to anonymously give information about large-scale industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, machinery theft and livestock theft by calling 0800 783 0137 or visiting

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