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Police work together with Cornish Mutual to help tackle rural crime

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South West insurance company Cornish Mutual is working in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police to reduce crime in rural communities.

Cornish Mutual has supported the printing of new materials to promote the Farm Watch scheme. This includes a number of large banners, as well as post cards to help officers working within the rural crime team reach more residents.

The banners are now being displayed in key locations across the county, including livestock markets, major travel routes and at Somerset Young Farmers headquarters.

Farm Watch was established in 2008 to help farmers and members of rural communities provide information to police. It gives police the ability to send live updates, alerting Farm Watch members to thefts or suspicious activity in the area, as well as providing crime prevention tips. Police hope the extra funding provided by Cornish Mutual will boost membership by promoting the value of this free service.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I’m pleased Cornish Mutual are supporting the police in spreading the important message about Farmwatch. Our watches provide invaluable support to the police and local people. Stronger communities are safer communities and joining a watch scheme helps prevent rural crime.”

Sergeant Andy Murphy said: “The public play a vital role in our fight against crime. Sharing any information they see or hear can help inform our intelligence picture of criminal activity. Information received from the public could be the missing piece of a puzzle or break-through in a case, helping us to reunite owners with their stolen goods, catch offenders and reduce the number of people becoming victims of crime.

“We need to work in partnership with residents to help us better protect communities and send a clear message to prospective criminals that there is a risk they could be caught if they engage in criminal activity.”

The Farm Watch scheme has been proven to act as a deterrent to rural crime and police are now aiming to grow its existing membership of around 4,000. By increasing membership, they hope to receive more local information from residents, to help send alerts, identify and catch criminals.

Philip Wilson of Cornish Mutual said: “Cornish Mutual insures farms and rural businesses across the South West, with growing numbers of Members in Somerset. As a mutual organisation we are owned by our Members, so can put their needs at the heart of everything we do. Sadly, rural crime is a fact of life but Farm Watch is a real success story that has been proven to make a difference.

“The aim of our sponsorship is to help Farm Watch grow its membership and, ultimately, reduce rural crime in Somerset. That is why we are delighted to be working with Avon and Somerset Police, supporting them with promoting the scheme.”

Avon and Somerset Police’s Farm Watch members receive free notifications either by telephone, text message or email. They are able to alert police to any information on stolen goods or suspicious behaviour in the area.

Cornish Mutual sits on the Rural Crime Forum with Avon and Somerset Police. Meeting four times a year, the rural crime forum members meet to discuss rural issues, working together to help serve rural communities.

Rural crimes can be reduced by the use of Watch schemes. By using your knowledge and awareness of what is happening on and around your land, you can help to reduce crime and deter criminals. To join the Farm Watch Scheme in Avon and Somerset or to find out more information, email ruralcrimeteam@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Posted on Friday 22nd February 2019
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