We launched a new text service to help us prevent and detect rural crime in January.
The service was aimed at encouraging rural communities and businesses to help us by providing information and intelligence about suspected crime in their area.
The number allows the public to text information directly to the Rural Crime Team, who assess and action the intelligence quickly and efficiently.
The service is going to continue following its three month trial but the number is changing. The 81819 number, which was also shared with our Drink Drive campaign and other services, is being discontinued and new numbers are being rolled out.
The new Rural Crime number is now 07492 888109 and will working in exactly the same way.
Inspector Joanna Mines, from the Rural Crime Team in Somerset, said: “We trialled the number for three months and have decided to carry on with the service. However, we felt we needed our own specific number and the 81819 number was quite expensive to run. The new number is specifically for Rural Crime and is a lot more cost effective.
“The number came about as many people who belong to our FarmWatch scheme said they wanted a facility to be able to pass on information and respond to messages quickly, and this number has facilitated that.
“We want to hear from anyone who has information about any suspicious or potentially criminal activity in their area, for example - details of people/vehicles seen behaving suspiciously, potentially stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale either to the public or at markets, sightings of stolen vehicles we might put out an alert for.
“No matter how small or insignificant people may think information is, it may be a vital piece of a jigsaw that helps us fill in the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice."
Messages are currently sent out via text message, voice alert and email to members of the Neighbourhood, Farm and Horse Watch schemes to alert them to crimes and incidents in their area. This new number will allow people to text back information quickly and easily.
Anyone can use it if they have information about rural or agricultural crime in their area, and isn’t just for Watch members.
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.
“I know from speaking to residents and farmers that there is a real desire to engage with the police when it comes to tackling rural crime. Providing an appropriate way for our rural communities to contact the police with intelligence will make a real difference to ensuring our countryside is safe and feels safe.”
It is important to note that the number isn't monitored 24/7. The team will be looking at it when they are on duty, it therefore shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes.
You can report a crime online via our website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk
If it's a crime which requires an immediate police attendance then dial 999.
The new number is 07492 888109, please text us any information you believe could either help prevent or detect a crime in your area.
You can still pass on information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.
Posted on Friday 24th March 2017