Warwickshire Police has launched a new team who will be dedicated to reducing rural crime across the county.
The launch coincided with the national Wildlife and Rural Crime Week of Action for all forces, which ran from 6 to 13 October.
Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “This is great news for our rural communities and demonstrates that we have listened to their concerns and acted on them.
“There has already been some fantastic work by our officers and staff to address rural crime and I am delighted that the new dedicated team will bring more resources to continue the momentum.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said he was always keen to do more to support rural businesses and communities affected by crime.
He said: “When I increased the police precept this year in order to fund additional officers for Warwickshire Police, I stressed that I wanted to see that uplift being reflected across our rural areas just as much as the more densely populated urban centres.
“I am delighted to see the launch of the new rural crime team and, alongside all of the crime prevention initiatives I fund, I hope it reinforces the message that crime will not be tolerated in any part of Warwickshire, including our rural communities.
“I know through my regular engagement with farmers and rural businesses that crime can have a devastating effect, so I am sure that the additional focus the new team will be able to give will be welcomed across the county.”
Sgt Bob Shaw will lead the new team that consists of four officers; PC Andy Timmins, Craig Purcell, Kate Taylor and Andy King and rural crime officer Carol Cotterill.
During the week of action the team was out and about supporting a range of activities across the county from Operation Leviathon, tackling illegal fishing in conjunction with the Environment Agency, to Operation Tempest which is tackling crime in rural areas.
Inspector Allison Wiggin said: “The role of the team is to deliver our Rural Crime Strategy which focuses on the significant issues affecting farmers, businesses and rural communities such as livestock offences (Operation Hillman) to address the theft and illegal butchery of sheep, acquisitive crime such as the theft of farm machinery, plant and machinery, to the issue of fly tipping.
“It’s a really wide remit but has specific strands we are concentrating on.”
The team will work closely with other teams within Warwickshire Police to support them in tackling some of the issues.
Based at Greys Mallory, near Warwick, each officer will have geographical ownership of a part of Warwickshire and Inspector Wiggin said the first priority would be to start building up links with the rural community, developing relationships and recognising where the force need to address emerging trends in line with their strategy.