From left to right: County Adviser Danny O’Shea, Superintendent Phil Vickers, County Adviser Andrew Wilson
The NFU in Lincolnshire is maintaining close contact with the county’s Police forces, not just in preparation for the coming hare coursing season, but to ensure that all aspects of rural crime are kept in focus for Lincolnshire and Humberside Police. A spate of meetings with the Lincolnshire Police in the last two weeks has meant that issues affecting farmers, their families and the communities they live in, are constantly under discussion.
Following a recent visit to NFU’s national Council meeting, Lincolnshire’s Deputy Chief Constable, Craig Naylor, who has national responsibility for rural crime issues for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, met NFU staff and officeholders at the Lincolnshire Show. He’s pictured, above with the NFU’s new arable campaign slogan, #YourHarvest.
Attending the Lincolnshire Police’s rural community safety multi-agency “Gold” group, Holland (Lincs) County Adviser, Danny O’Shea was pleased to hear future plans for tackling all crime in rural areas; NFU is the sole organisation representing the views of farmers and growers at these regular meetings held at force headquarters.
This week, county advisers Danny O’Shea and Andrew Wilson met Superintendent Phil Vickers who now has overall responsibility for rural crime in the county.
Following the meeting, Danny O’Shea said: “Talking with Phil today we have agreed to an early meeting when we can hear about the force’s Operation Galileo plans. We want farmers and growers from across the county to attend so that Phil can hear farmers’ concerns. Two further meetings during the coursing season, in November and February will allow our members to feed back their views on progress, tactics and outcomes from police action against this insidious crime.
“Phil is clearly on side with farmers on hare coursing and rural crime altogether; he is determined to protect the rural community as the coursing season progresses.
“Of course it’s not just hare coursing that causes stress, fear and financial loss in our farming communities,” added Danny O’Shea. “Theft of machinery, fuel, small tools, arson and fraud, together with organised gangs that fly-tip huge amounts of waste on farm land, are issues that must be tackled.”
Superintendent Phil Vickers, the new rural crime lead for Lincolnshire Police said: “In taking over the rural crime lead for Lincolnshire Police, I’m acutely aware of the progress that was made last year and the positive impact our commitment had on rural communities.
“Last year saw a 30% drop in incidents – 1,365 incidents reported compared to 1,965 in 2016/17. Officers seized 76 dogs being used for hare coursing and 45 people were arrested or reported for summons, with another 58 served dispersal notices forcing them to leave the county, often without their dogs.
“Our focus will continue to be on prevention and we will achieve that by developing the close relationships we have with our communities, partners and other police forces.
“Lincolnshire is a beautiful county to live and work in and I am proud to serve the people here. We need to continue to make best use of the technology available to us, to develop innovative ways to prevent offending but most of all to listen to the people who know what works and build the trust of our rural communities.”