NFU Mutual has today released their latest figures outlining the cost of rural crime nationally.
The figures sadly show an increase in the first part of the 2017 in comparison to last year, which saw an overall annual reduction of 4%.
However, the local picture is more positive. Figures show that there has been a reduction in the cost of rural crime in Somerset - a decrease of 1%.
Superintendent Mike Prior, Rural Crime Lead for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “Whilst we are obviously disappointed to hear that nationally and the South West region is showing an increase in rural claims in comparison to last year (5.6%), I am very encouraged that Somerset has seen a reduction.
“The NFU believe that where there are reductions, it is due to effective crime prevention by farmers and successful initiatives run by the police with partners and rural communities. We have been working hard with our partner agencies, the Rural Crime Forum, neighbouring forces and the rural and farming communities to reduce crime and it is very encouraging to see this reflected in a reduction in claims within the force area.
“We have had some real successes locally that demonstrate just how effective we can be when we work together. These have included the arrest of three people for theft after the public responded to alerts we put out via our Farm and Neighbourhood Watch system; and a farmer also recently prevented the theft of his flock thanks to gate and fence alarms he had installed.
“There are lots of positive new developments in crime prevention equipment aimed at reducing livestock and vehicle theft. These are having a positive impact and we are seeing success in both prevention and detection. So I would encourage the public to keep taking crime prevention measures wherever possible.
“By working together, employing crime prevention measures and communicating effectively we can disrupt and deter criminals.”
Robert Killen, who chairs the Rural Crime Forum, said: “The Forum is an innovative and independent group, which brings together all the organisations effected by rural crime. We understand first-hand the impact rural crime can have on individuals, families and communities and the anxiety and stress in causes.
“We are pleased to hear that there has been a reduction in the cost of rural crime in Somerset and we know how hard Avon and Somerset Police have been working to tackle these issues across the force area.
“We will continue to work with them and play our part to facilitate effective communications and information flow both to and from our rural communities, which is vital in helping combat crime.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Rural crime affects the livelihoods of farmers, smallholders and rural businesses and presents some real challenges for the wider rural areas. I know the Rural Crime Team, working closely with our local communities are committed to tackling and preventing crime.
“While the cost of rural crime in the South West has increased according to the NFU’s figures, I would hope that the action and commitment by Avon and Somerset Constabulary has given our communities the confidence to report more matters to the police. There have been a number of disrupted rural thefts lately thanks to the intelligence of local people. Working together is the only way we can ensure our countryside is safe and feels even safer.”
Supt’ Prior added: “Whilst we are pleased to see this decrease, we acknowledge that there is much to do. We will continue to target rural thieves by running on-going, specialist operations and the Rural Crime Team remain dedicated to working with our communities, partner agencies and the Rural Crime Forum to disrupt and deter criminals.
“I would also ask that the public keep talking to us. You are our eyes and ears. You know your communities – if you see anything suspicious, tell us as soon as possible. It might be the missing piece of the jigsaw.”
If you would like further advice or more information about our watch schemes, please visit our website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk
You can follow our Rural Crime Team on Twitter @ASPRuralCrime.
To pass on information to the Rural Crime Team you can text 07492888109. Alternatively you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Posted on Monday 14th August 2017