A new online and telephone survey by the NFU in the North East will put rural crime and its continuing impact on farming families and businesses under the spotlight.
Launched today (26 January 2021), the survey asks about the level of crime being experienced by the region's farmers and growers, the cost of that crime to their businesses, the extent to which crimes are being reported and how farmers feel about the police response. It will also ask about the crime prevention measures introduced over the last five years, how much farmers are spending on crime prevention and how actively they are working with the police to help tackle crime in the countryside.
"The last time we surveyed our local members in 2012, the results painted a very depressing picture with more than 40 per cent of North East farm businesses reporting they had been the victims of crime over the previous 12 months and up to a quarter of crimes going unreported," said North East regional director, Adam Bedford.
"Since then, the impact of rural crime has moved much higher up the agenda nationally and regionally, and we are pleased to report far stronger relationships with all our local police forces. Nevertheless, rural crime remains one of the top issues raised with us by our members, whether that's machinery or livestock theft, flytipping, wildlife crime, or dog attacks on sheep - the list goes on.
"This survey provides an opportunity to get more of an insight into the extent of the problem across Yorkshire and the North East which will help inform our conversations with candidates in the upcoming Police & Crime Commissioner elections. It will also explore how farmers themselves are responding to rural crime with the introduction of on-farm preventative measures and the use of social media for example to work more closely with the police."
Overall, the findings of the survey - which is also being carried out in other regions across England and Wales - will help the NFU assess the current impact of rural crime nationally and inform its ongoing work with the police, police & crime commissioners, the government and a range of local stakeholders.
Available to complete online, the survey is also being supported by national security specialists Datatag, who have provided three GPS marking systems as prizes to be won by NFU members taking part.
The closing date for the survey is Sunday 7 March 2021.