Today Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens has been visiting officers and volunteers in the new Rural Crime Team on their first day of action tackling rural crime.
The team, led by Sgt Stuart Williams, will be helping protect and support the farming and rural communities of Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Somerset.
The team will be working with external organisations and local communities to identify key issues, help reduce crime, facilitate collaboration with other forces and organisations such as the National Farmers Union, and share information and best practice.
Sue Mountstevens said: “The Rural Crime Team will strengthen the Constabulary’s focus on the issues affecting farmers, smallholders and rural businesses.
“It was a real desire of mine to have something like this in place following many discussions and forums with rural communities. Farmers, residents and businesses tell me that they want to engage with the police and to work together to help prevent and reduce rural crime from happening in the first place.
“This new team and focused days of action will embed rural crime as a priority for the police in Avon and Somerset and offer dedicated officers and staff with real expertise on rural issues.”
The team will also act in an advisory capacity for local policing teams and provide training to staff and other officers to help give them a better understanding of rural issues and ultimately provide a better service to rural communities.
Superintendent Ian Wylie, who is the force lead on rural crime, said: “Farmers need to know that we understand the long-term effect that crime can have on their business and day-to-day working environment. That is one of the key areas that the new Rural Crime Team will be looking at to help support local policing teams.
“We are already working closely with farmers and rural communities. Events such as our Rural Crime Forum in October last year, enabled us to speak directly with farmers, identify key issues and areas where we could improve our service and work together to reduce these crimes further.”
Last month Ms Mountstevens became the 20th Commissioner to endorse the Rural Crime Network, which aims to help tackle rural crime more effectively in England and Wales.
Posted on Thursday 24th April 2014