Rural crime network launched

Sporting organisations have teamed up to open a network to help police tackle rural crime.

The Rural Services Network, a non-profit organisation that represents a range of rural service providers, joined up with police officers, the Countryside Alliance, Farmers Weekly, police and crime commissioners, the National Community Safety Network and other bodies to create the network. Since its inception, 18 police and crime commissioners in England and Wales have given their backing to the project.

The National Rural Crime Network aims to co-ordinate the sharing of best practice and information on tacking rural crime between police forces, and to develop links to academic resources. It will also provide an online base for sharing information, providing training development, and access to case studies, as well as linking up methods of reporting crime.

Nick Payne, of the Rural Services Network, said, “There is a common perception that rural crime is less significant than that occurring in cities and towns. The impact of rural crime is just as serious as it is elsewhere which is becoming an increasing problem as austerity bites and as police resources are stretched thinner. There is good collaborative work already occurring in some localities but it is widely acknowledged that sharing of best practice is patchy and urgently needs to be improved.”

Julia Mulligan, police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “As the commissioner for the largest rural police force in England, I am particularly keen to support this initiative. Clearly, crime in rural areas accounts for a large proportion of North Yorkshire Police’s demand.

“There are significant pressures on rural police forces and by coming together, we will be able to speak in a strong and united voice. I am particularly pleased that the network also includes other organisations dedicated to rural communities. In this way, we should all be able to learn from one another and work collaboratively on new ideas and solutions that will benefit our local people.”

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