Farmers’ Union takes on rural crime in new report

Combating rural crime has become an area of focus for the National Farmers’ Union’s (NFU) Cymru branch. 

The Union teamed up with the North Wales Police Rural Crime team to launch the Combating Rural Crime report and addresses concerns farmers face.

“Violent crimes such as sheep rustling, fly-tipping and sheep worrying are just a few examples of the crimes farm businesses are being subjected to,” commented Hedd Pugh, NFU Cymru rural affairs board chairman.

“The cost of rural crime in the UK reached £42.5 million in 2015 and NFU Cymru is asking government and the Home Office to ensure increased and fairer funding for rural policing. More than 1,000 rural police stations in the UK closed between 2000 and 2012, directly impacting the level of police surveillance.”

Pugh highlighted several examples of police forces that were successfully fighting rural crime. “Indeed, North Wales Police Rural Crime team is one of the leading rural crime teams in the UK,” he said. “They have been very proactive in engaging with the agricultural community in order to understand the problems and look at tangible solutions, and this should be praised.

“But we believe more joined-up thinking is needed from police forces, together with local authorities and government, to address these issues. NFU Cymru would like government to take the lead to ensure all constabularies adopt strategies of accurate recording and target setting and are willing to work together to find positive solutions to these challenges. Farmers should not be seen as a soft target for criminals.”

The Combating Rural Crime report was launched on Monday, 24 July at a joint seminar from NFU Cymru and North Wales Police Rural Crime team. PC Dave Allen commented that rural crime was a growing area of concern. “It is apparent to anybody involved in agriculture that the whole issue surrounding livestock attacks is becoming more and more of a problem,” he explained.

“With attacks often involving the death of animals, distraught livestock-keepers and pet owners, it is plain to see there are no winners with a livestock attack. The focus of the seminar is about prevention and education – the nature of attacks, the scale of the problem, police response and the issues with the current legislation. Therefore, I welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with NFU Cymru to tackle this issue head-on.”

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