With thieves nationally targeting quad bikes, tools, machinery and 4x4s, Sussex Police have launched its rural crime strategy, outlining how it aims to keep all those in rural communities safe and how to tackle those who commit crime in the countryside.
With large rural areas and significant numbers of the population defined as living in rural settlements, Sussex Police has had an established network of rural and wildlife officers specifically trained to deal with agricultural, environmental, heritage and wildlife incidents for several years.
This network of specialists is also available to provide support and advice to colleagues who may be called upon to deal with incidents of rural crime during their daily duties.
Rural crime is a typically under-reported area and Sussex Police are encouraging those affected to ensure that they do report incidents so that an accurate picture of the problem can be assessed.
They are already working in partnership with a number of agencies including the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the Environment Agency and local authorities across the county to prevent crime wherever possible and to deal with it effectively and swiftly when it does occur.
Initiatives in support of this include Operation Traverse, in liaison with the Angling Trust, the National Wildlife Crime Unit and other partners, which encourages anglers to become ‘eyes and ears’ for tackling wildlife crime across the county.
It’s only right that residents know these crimes are being taken as seriously as those in urban parts of Sussex
Sergeant Tom Carter has been involved in a national campaign to educate dog owners in responsible control of their pets in a bid to reduce the large number of deaths from sheep and other livestock-worrying incidents. He has worked closely with farmers and the NFU across Sussex in dealing with incidents.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: “Sussex Police take rural crime seriously. Superintendent Emma Brice was appointed as the dedicated strategic lead for rural crime early this year and she is supported by Sergeant Tom Carter, our operational lead, who has an enormous amount of experience in this area. They are coordinating how Sussex Police prevent, respond to and investigate rural crime to keep communities safe and feeling safe at a local level.
“As part of our commitment to keeping rural communities safe and building confidence in the services provided by us and our partners, we will soon be inviting people to join the new Sussex Countrywatch Partnership. This will provide the opportunity for those living and working in, and visiting, rural areas to sign up to receive information about rural crime and prevention advice to protect their homes and businesses.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “The new Rural Crime Strategy recognises the importance that particular crimes have for people living and working in our rural areas.
“It’s only right that residents know these crimes are being taken as seriously as those in urban parts of Sussex. I remain focused on this issue and welcome the fact that Sussex Police acknowledge the recommendations from the National Rural Crime Survey.”