In response to recent concerns, members from across Holland (Lincs) and Lincolnshire met with Lincolnshire Police this week (11/12/17) to discuss rural crime and, in particular, hare coursing.
Since starting in the role, Chief Constable, Bill Skelly, committed to tackling rural crime and hare coursing in a meaningful way and providing his team with the resources, kit and focus it needed. Since this public commitment was made at our rural crime member meeting back in February, Mr Skelly has been working to deliver on his promise – publishing a new rural crime strategy, securing funding for new equipment and making sure this funding is invested where it’s needed.
The desire of Lincolnshire Police to improve rural community policing is recognised, but recently there have been concerns raised by members. This follows a sudden upturn in hare coursing incidents across the county at a time where police resources appear to be stretched to their limits. There have been cases where our members have felt the response to incidents has not been strong enough. Whether that be the initial police response or the subsequent severity of charge or conviction. To try and address these concerns, the NFU brought together our members and the police to discuss this issue and to see how we can continue to move forward.
From left to right: Lincolnshire Police Superintendent Phil Vickers, Chief Inspector Jim Tyner and Holland (Lincs) County Chairman Stafford Proctor.
Chief Inspector for Rural Crime, Jim Tyner, gave an overview of the current situation, paying particular attention to crime statistics and where things have and haven’t gone well. He also touched on the relationship between Lincolnshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the local magistrates. Members then had the opportunity to discuss hare coursing and rural crime and ask questions of the police.
During the meeting Mr Tyner committed to continue to improve general communications between the police and rural community, something which had greatly improved since February. He also offered NFU members the opportunity to visit the Lincolnshire Police’s incident control room, to see first-hand how it all works. More specifically, Superintendent Phil Vickers agreed to involve the NFU, where possible, during any future review of the questions asked when an incident is being reported over the telephone.
The NFU is committed to working with Lincolnshire Police and will continue to raise our members’ concerns where needed. The NFU, along with other stakeholders and partner agencies such as the CPS, magistrates, Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, Highways England and Trading Standards, attend Lincolnshire Police’s Multi-Agency Rural Community Safety Gold Meeting. This meeting offers an opportunity to look at the force’s rural crime strategy, review current performance and discuss where things can improve.
The NFU’s county adviser in Holland (Lincs), Danny O’Shea, said: “This meeting was about providing a platform to Lincolnshire Police to discuss rural crime and, more specifically, hare coursing. We wanted our members to have the opportunity to express any concerns they may have, ask questions and then look to how we can move forward. I think we achieved this.
“I want to thank Chief Inspector Tyner and Superintendent Vickers for taking the time to speak with our members. The NFU will continue to work with Lincolnshire Police to help fight hare coursing and help to ensure a safer community for all.”