The NFU has urged farmers and countryside dwellers to take part in a new survey by 24th June, aimed at assessing policing and the problem of crime in rural areas. The survey was highlighted on Countryfile on Sunday 14th June.
The National Rural Crime Network launched the survey on Wednesday 20 May as police forces across Britain face further budget cuts.
The survey will look at the financial impact of crime on farming and rural dwellers, how safe countryside communities feel and how much they feel the focus of policing has moved to urban areas.
The results of the survey will be used to improve awareness of crime, encourage crime prevention and inform government policy.
Suzanne Clear (pictured right), senior adviser for planning and rural affairs at the NFU, urged farmers and rural people to get involved and make a difference.
“We would ask our members to please spare ten minutes to respond to the survey,” she said.
“Their experience can demonstrate how crime impacts on farming families, farm businesses and the community around them. This should be the biggest rural crime survey ever, and it’s essential that the farming and countryside voice is heard, to ensure rural crime prevention is a priority for police funding.”
According to a Home Office survey released last month, one in four agriculture, forestry and fishing businesses were affected by crime in 2014. While it revealed that farming, fishery and forestry businesses saw a fall in burglaries when compared to other rural businesses such as retail premises, it also showed:
- Rural businesses were hit by 95,000 crimes last year
- One third of crimes were thefts
- 24 per cent of all reported crime was vandalism.
Yet Suzanne added that the survey had not included online crime, something that was a growing problem. On top of that, the figures also hid other types of crime.
“The NFU is concerned that not only are the levels of crime too high, but they hide under reported crimes and antisocial behaviour that our members tell us they are experiencing, but do not always feel that they can report,” she went on to explain.